Why Ford failed to keep the 2015 Mustang a secret
The invention of the Internet, then subsequent social media sites and cell phones with built-in cameras, have all but eliminated the word “mystery” from our vocabulary. When it comes to pictures of brand new cars, when was the last time you read an article without the words “LEAKED” in the headline?
So why is it so hard for automakers to keep its prized machines a secret?
The abundance of leaks is hardly a surprise. News outlets want the jump on rival publications rather than waiting for the manufacturer’s official release—one that’s met with an embargo that forces all outlets to publish at precisely the same time, therefore diluting traffic instead of letting those with the fastest fingers and operating systems take the prize. Therefore, everyone’s searching for that elusive “first” shot; one that will circulate the Interweb faster than a photo of Kim and Kanye's baby South East. Or was it North West? I forget.
Photographers, too, can pay for all their Christmas presents at once, with enough change for a Pumpkin Spice latte, if they land that prized pic of the new Mustang before anyone else. It’s big business. In a world where waiting is for losers, getting there first is everything.
But here’s the problem for auto enthusiasts: Suspense, drama, mystery. It’s these ingredients that made Lost such a hit TV show. It’s why kids in the ‘90s watched Baywatch—when will they run; who is this Hasselhoff fella; and why is he running? Without those three ingredients, auto shows have become as bland as soggy sponge cake.
Last week marked a momentous occasion for Lamborghini. After a decade in production, the Gallardo has been replaced by the Huracan—a machine as hotly anticipated as any supercar in recent years. It’s a big story, and yet we saw the pictures days before Lamborghini released them, leaked by some car magazine in Hong Kong.
With the new Mustang appearing on Car & Driver's website back in October, as well as images of its December cover shot mysteriously appearing online, cars leaking early has become common. C&D's Mustang photos arrived almost two months before Ford officially released the “first” images. And Ford would, if it could, have waited until the Detroit auto shows to reveal its creation. But today, that's all but impossible. Pictures leak, forcing automaker's to show its hand way before it ever intended.