Over the past couple of years, Ford has pushed the advertising envelope by doing humorous meta-advertising that, by seeming to be someone's guerrilla campaign at Ford's expense, comments on the media as much as it delivers against a particular vehicle. The sock puppet campaign comes to mind.
So does a new African-American market effort that plays on "You're acting brand new." The campaign for the Escape compact SUV has a comedy-sketch feel about how the Escape has completely changed a family, and therefore the lives of gas station attendants, and valets. The effort by the UniWorld Group, Ford's African American advertising agency of record, launched on the season finale of "The Game" on BET.
Said Shawn Lollie, Ford manager, multicultural marketing, in a statement: "We wanted to expand upon our past efforts of utilizing comedy, which you saw in our 2011 Ford Explorer multicultural creative campaign, as a way to engage consumers while spotlighting the Escape as a vehicle of change in its owners' lives." That effort, in February last year, featured comic Kevin Hart -- who shows up late for his brother's wedding, albeit in a 2011 Ford Explorer.
"Brand new" refers to someone who has done something or acquired something that completely changes him or her. It is meant to be the African-American take on Ford's new "Go Further" platform.
The subject of the campaign is a family (the Browns) who are suddenly into kayaking, surfing, hiking and spelunking, thanks to their new Escape. But the stars of the ads, which tout technical features of the vehicle -- fuel economy, navigation, self-parking and the hands-free liftgate, for example -- are those left bereft by the family's "brand new" life: Stanley the gas attendant, Vince the world's best Valet, and the Bag Boy.
In addition to BET, the TV ads will air on TV One, CNN, The Gospel Music Channel, Bravo, TNT and CBS. Print ads are in Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence, Jet, Upscale, Uptown, Rolling Out, Juicy Magazine, Sister 2 Sister and Vibe Magazine.
The ads and other video creative are also on www.ford.com/brandnew, Ford's YouTube channel, and the Ford Escape Facebook page. The sites also have a music video featuring a fictive hip-hop group, the "Bag Boyz," who rap about the hands-free power liftgate in a song titled "Kick It."
Lollie tells Marketing Daily that this is the first
Multicultural (African-American) campaign tied to the Ford Escape. "The Small SUV segment is the fastest-growing segment in the overall SUV segment with it accounting for almost 43% of the
African-American business so there is an excellent business case for this execution." She adds that the The 60-spot will be used for in-theater opportunities with Screen Vision.
In addition, the 2013 Ford Escape will be part of the 2012 BET Awards, 2012 Essence Music Festival and 2012 Ford Hoodie Awards in Las Vegas, per Lollie. "In fact, we recently kicked off a campaign earlier this week with the Steve Harvey Morning Show called 'Escape to the 2012 Ford Hoodie Awards' that takes its cue from the campaign. We are essentially giving Steve Harvey Morning Show listeners a chance to take part in new experiences and attend the Hoodie Awards."