Ford Of Canada Lets Customers Stand For The Brand

Ford Motor Company of Canada is launching its biggest marketing push in six years with a campaign that focuses on letting Ford customers serve as brand ambassadors.

The effort, which bows a new tag for Canada, "Powered by You," features a raft of new 30- and 60-second TV ads featuring the dance troupe Pilobolus, famous for creating sculptures out of the intertwined forms of individual dancers.

The ads don't show Ford cars at all. Instead, the ads show members of the dance troupe creating sculptures of vehicles like Ford Fusion, Focus and Edge with their bodies and car wheels, a grill and window. The ads carry the theme line: "A car is just a car until it's powered by you."

The campaign also includes a new Web site, Fordpoweredbyyou.ca. The site is intended as a social-media forum where consumers can air their opinions of the Ford brand, technology and vehicles. Dean Stoneley, director of communications for Ford of Canada, says the site will have three theme areas: design, technology and environment.

"We don't own the brand the way we used to; consumers own it. It's not about claims any more. Consumers don't want to be preached to. It's about a dialogue and discovery, giving people the chance to comment," he says. "We see it as more of a consumer site than our site. Barring extreme examples, our intent is to make it open and democratic."

The site is being overseen by an editorial team. The company says visitors will be able to post questions, provide reviews and comments on Ford's products and vote on original Canadian works of art for the site.

David Greenberg, VP/general marketing of Toronto-based Ford of Canada --an American who has been in the position in Canada for three years--says the marketing is driven by an urban mindset. "Fifty-five percent of the population is in 10 cities. So there is a very urban approach and understanding."

"We don't have an issue with awareness or purchase intent. Our issue surrounds the middle of the purchase funnel, around product and brand opinions," he says. "The whole concept of 'Powered By You' centers on conquering new people--kicking the door open and allowing us to have that conversation."

The TV spots, launching this week, will run across Canada over the next six weeks and online at ford.ca. In addition, a video depicting the making of the commercial is also available there. The television and print advertising creative were developed by Young & Rubicam, and the media buy was executed by Mediaedge:cia.

National print advertisements for the campaign will run in the Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Gazette and La Presse. The company will also run roadblock and home page ad placements on portals like Yahoo, Canoe, MSN.ca, AOL, and CTV.ca.

Tags: automotive
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