Infamous ‘Built Ford Tough’ Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge
New York court tosses case claiming Ford’s famous F-Series slogan is false advertising. Hope in the court system is restored.
Does anyone really read too much into ad slogans? Apparently, they do, as we discovered from a recently-dismissed lawsuit.
On September 5, the Northern District Court of New York threw out the Kommer v. Ford Motor Company lawsuit, which alleged Ford’s “Built Ford Tough” slogan represented false advertisement, as reported by The National Law Review.
The plaintiff, Brandon Kommer, reportedly experienced difficulty with the locks and doors on a 2015 F-150 in subfreezing weather. In the lawsuit, Kommer asserted that the difficulty demonstrated the “Tough” part was demonstrably false. (Ford Truck Enthusiasts covered the issue last February.
The court disagreed, noting that TV ads don’t specifically state anything about door-handle performance. If they did, we might question Ford’s sanity.
Further, the court defined the Ford slogan as mere puffery, or “an exaggerated or generalized claim” that reasonable customers would not interpret as factual statements. In other words: It’s an advertising tagline, let’s not get carried away.
Just to completely refute the claim, the courts dismissed Kommer’s theory that the Blue Oval had failed to disclose door and lock issues to consumers. Because Ford fixed the issue under warranty, the courts denied that Kommer had suffered any injury due to the failure.
You may be surprised to learn that people have sued both the Motor Company and other truck makers over claims of toughness. In 2010, a court in the state of Colorado threw out another false-representation lawsuit alleging that both Ford slogans “Built Ford Tough” and “Quality is Job #1” did not live up to their suggested claims.
We’re not sure what compels someone to sue over advertising slogans, but we suspect the courts will keep tossing them out, or so we hope. While we take a strong stance on consumer rights, common sense must prevail.
What’s next? If an Explorer runs out of gas, Ford will be sued over “Go Further?”