Ford hasn't had a brand campaign for its cars in a long time, although cars like Focus, Fusion and Mustang have moved off lots nicely. But that is changing. The company’s new umbrella campaign “By Design” is all about its lineup of vehicles comprising the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Mustang -- whose sales Ford says have grown four times faster than the rate of the industry over the past 10 years, per the automaker.
The automaker is launching the new effort on the heels of “Unstoppable,” its effort this spring for SUVs. The new campaign kicks off with a series of 15-second TV commercials, with print, digital, and out-of-home placements, including in New York's Times Square, to follow.
Three spots, showing the campaign’s focus on style and feel, with simple visual themes intended to evoke an emotional connection, launched on Thursday.
The spot for the Focus Electric compact just shows a charging station in the desert, with a red Focus electric car zooming up and fishtailing right up to the obelisk-like charging facility. The driver gets out, removes the plug-in dispenser, and inserts it into the Focus. Cut to the stylized Ford script and voiceover: “Charged Up, By Design.”
The ad for Mustang, via TDI in collaboration with Ford’s African-American agency of record, UniWorld Group, shows a model strolling past a yellow Mustang with a mike stand. She drops it behind the car and positions the old-school mike just behind the exhaust. The car revs up, and the camera pulls back so we see the car is in front a wall of speakers amplifying the engine sound. “Powerful, By Design,” says V.O.
Brett Burin, Tier 1 marketing communications manager at Ford, tells Marketing Daily that the short-form ads are modular creative pieces in the sense that they are designed to be paired to run back-to-back in single, 30-second ad pods. “We wanted to take advantage of those 30-second units to combine the ads for the greatest impact, pairing, for example, Focus and Mustang, and Fusion with another spot with the same type of energy.”
He says the idea for the campaign is to bring the same brand unity to cars as Ford enjoys with its “Built Ford Tough” platform for trucks. The ads also experiment with the Ford script logo, a first. “With Built Ford Tough, we have a brand image of what our trucks stand for. We now have a fresh, great-looking car lineup, so now is the right time to highlight all of our cars, but also tie them together with bright colors, vibrant, modern imagery, while letting the unique personality of each come through, tied together with the Ford script.”
In addition to Ford’s AOR Team Detroit and UniWorld Group, the effort also brings in Hispanic shop Zubi. Burin says the agency is currently putting together two to three different spots that have the same look and feel, but are more targeted to Hispanic consumers.