Ford asked the dealer to stop its earlier advertisement.
A flag, a Bible and…a 12-gauge? That’s how Chatom Ford, a dealership in the rural town of Chatom, Alabama, kicked off their July 4 sales event. Any customer who bought a car during the “God, Guns and Freedom” special were entitled to a Bible, an American flag, and a certificate for a 12-gauge shotgun. According to a USA Today report, general sales manager Koby Palmer said the promotion was a huge hit. “I guess it went viral, as the kids say.”
But nearly as soon as it started, the promotion is over.
Today, Chatom Ford posted on their Facebook page that they pulled the campaign after it went viral. “We were running a promotion celebrating this country’s independence. Ford Motor Company has asked us to stop running the advertisement. They manufacture the products we are franchised to sell, we we are complying their request.” In that same post, they did say they would “fulfill all commitments we made to customers.”
Palmer did also point out that the dealership wasn’t just “handing out shotguns in Alabama,” as part of this promotion. Instead, buyers took their certificate to a certified firearms dealer. From there, the shop would run a background check, and only give the buyer a shotgun if they cleared that check.
As for any negative attention brought about by this promotion, he said, “This is just showing support for our local community. Anything that doesn’t 100% agree with what we’re portraying, we’re not trying to force our beliefs on anybody. We respect anybody that disagrees, no matter how vehemently they do.”
By Palmer’s account, the ad campaign has been successful. “It’s been running for three business days [since last Friday] and we sold five cars. In a small town, business is booming.”