Ford Motor is squealing Mustang tires on the big screen again, just in time for the most important year for the nameplate since perhaps its first one back in 1964.
Via a deal with DreamWorks Studios, the automaker will launch an integrated campaign around “Need for Speed,” based on EA's game of the same name. The timing is good -- as the car is celebrating its 50th next year.
This isn’t the first time Mustang has been all over the silver screen. It has been in several hundred films, the most memorable by far being “Bullitt,” in which Steve McQueen flies a GT Fastback in much of the chase scenes. The car (along with just about every other nameplate) has also been in “Transformers”; Will Smith drove a Shelby GT500 version in the "I Am Legend" zombie-thon; and there was a gold one in "Gold Finger."
Ford gets big product integration with “Need,” with Ford's giveback being media and promotional efforts supporting the film near the March 2014 premiere, a couple of months before the official Mustang half-centennial birthday. The automaker unveiled a one-off pony car for the movie on Monday at Electronic Arts’ press conference at E3 Expo in Los Angeles.
Ford says the Mustang will be featured "prominently" throughout the film and will "become part of the mythology of the movie." The film, according to the studio, is kind of a cross-country race between the 'stang and probably a Ferrari and some other wheeled goodies.
“‘Need for Speed’ is rooted in Americana, and when we were casting our hero car for the film, Ford Mustang was the obvious choice,” said Stacey Snider, partner and co-chair of DreamWorks. In addition to another Mustang (actually used to film the scenes), one other major Ford vehicle, according to the automaker, is a commercial F-450 truck done up for the movie and dubbed “The Beast.”
Steve Ling, Ford performance car marketing manager, tells Marketing Daily that the deal got done because Scott Waugh, the film's director, approached the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker. "He said he had been thinking about the [lead] character and the kind of personality he wanted in the car," says Ling. "Well, we get a lot of offers, but we are also very protective of the [Mustang] brand. But the more he talked about the story line, it seemed like a perfect fit."
Another point was is that for the first time Ford will be making Mustang a global car (part of the automaker's "One Ford," one tenet of which is to avoid making a given vehicle for one country. "When you consider that, and Mustang's role in the video game [integration], it just made sense."
He added that Ford -- in addition to promoting the movie -- will be involved in promoting the latest version of the game, due out in November. "For us the game is great because I'm always looking for ways to keep Mustang relevant and exciting, and it will especially appeal to young people into gaming."