God, Guns and Freedom

27 June 2019 | Lucy Bishop

 We’re heading over the pond for today’s blog, to look at a US car dealership that’s already started its Independence Day celebrations. Chatom Ford, a Ford franchise in Alabama is celebrating all things America by launching a campaign called ‘God, Guns and Freedom’ offering anyone who purchases a vehicle from the brand a free American flag, Bible and a shotgun. 

In a video posted on its Facebook page, the store's general manager Koby Palmer is stood holding a bible and shotgun while the pick-up truck behind him is draped in the American flag. Palmer proudly states that, “Not only are they gonna get the great deals and service… they’re also gonna get a Bible, an American flag and also a 12-gauge shotgun.”

As you can imagine the dealership has received a huge backlash from this campaign. I can imagine anti-gun protesters were not at all happy, with one Facebook user expressing their outrage by commenting; ‘So in order to support our country and God, I must support guns? Is that what you are saying?’ This questionable campaign certainly sparked a debate, especially as the age to obtain a learner driving permit in Alabama is just 14. However, the store does require customers to have a valid ID and complete a background check before the gun will be given to them. 

Palmer told Newsweek that the promotion isn’t meant to make any political statement, and its store isn’t stocked with guns. Despite the backlash it’s received, Palmer said the feedback from the local community has been positive. 

Regardless of the positive feedback that Palmer claims to have received, it’s no wonder that, when Ford HQ found out about what Chatom Ford was offering to its customers it swiftly put an end to the whole affair. As a household American brand, Ford certainly didn’t want a small franchise to tarnish its reputation and involve it in the on-going gun debate, so quietly making Chatom Ford remove the offer was certainly the right thing for Ford to do. 

Since the removal of its offer, Chatom Ford has now created a new campaign on its Facebook page. Now called ‘God, Glory, and Freedom’ the business is offering customers a bible, and an American flag, but now with a gift certificate with every purchase replacing the shotgun. A much less controversial campaign that’s so far received a more positive response from the local community. Americans do love patriotism, after all!