Ford is supporting Season Two of the popular PBS show "Finding Your Roots," the program started by Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to dig into people’s ancestry.
Ford will activate on several levels against the 10-part series. The automaker says there will be 30-second contextual ads looking at the motor company's own history, and that of founder Henry Ford, and that the effort includes digital and social executions, including a branded-content digital play around the company's heritage.
The show itself features celebrities, actors, athletes and other movers and shakers. Gates amazes them with his findings. In the new show, Gates will talk to three celebrities per episode and wow them with a connection they share, dug up by a team of genealogists.
The Ford spot accompanying the show touts Henry Ford’s fair wage policy with respect to African-American workers, driving the industry-driven migration north of southern sharecroppers.
Ford's digital content series launching next week on YouTube highlights users who talk about the impact their family history has had on their lives. Also, Ford and PBS flagship and New York-based Thirteen will do a live online screening and chat this Sunday, accompanied by a interactive component around the streaming of a behind-the-scenes footage of the episode.
The automaker is also sponsoring a live Q&A with Gates at the 9th Biennial Awards for Excellence Legacy Dinner at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit this Saturday.
In late June this year, Ford was automotive sponsor of the 14th annual BET Awards as part of the company’s larger effort to spotlight the 50th anniversary of Mustang. That has been an ongoing program for Ford, which has sponsored the Awards show for six years. Ford’s diversity agency of record for the African-American market is UniWorld, but the campaign for BET brought in Zubi Advertising and Team Detroit as well.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based company has a multi-year sponsorship of the Essence Music Festival, which this year was in New Orleans, and this summer sponsored Steve Harvey's Neighborhood Awards show in Atlanta.