Ford Plans Regional-Only Super Bowl Buy

Ford Motor Co. is planning a strategic media buy for its #FinishStrong campaign on Sunday’s Super Bowl LV, targeting areas hard hit by COVID-19 including southern California, Texas, Florida and Kansas City.

Those areas are being targeted based on data and analysis from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 

The goal of #FinishStrong, which broke in December, is to encourage Americans to pull together to protect themselves and each other. If more Americans embraced COVID protocols, such as wearing masks, 50,000 or more lives could be saved between now and the end of June when vaccines are more readily available, according to officials at the University of Washington.



Ford is also running a #FinishStrong ad during Super Bowl LV in Michigan and Missouri, where the company has a high concentration of employees who cannot work from home.

Super Bowl LV viewers will see the 30-second spot and a new 60-second spot before or during the game in those locations. The campaign will continue across digital and social media channels.

The spots were created by filmmaker Peter Berg, known for such movies as “Friday Night Lights,” and narrated by award-winning actor Bryan Cranston. Along with Film Forties, the campaign is co-produced by Civic Entertainment Group. Wieden + Kennedy was involved in the 30-second spot, but not the 60-second spot, per a Ford spokesperson. 

The company expects to reach 325 million people with the buy, says Mark Truby, the automaker’s chief communications officer. 

“About a month ago we were looking at the funding we had and how to maximize it in terms of the number of masks we have to donate,” says Truby during a call with the media Tuesday. “Really our goal is, what will give us the best chance of saving lives. That’s how we ended up targeting these markets.”

A national campaign was never planned. As of a few weeks ago, Ford actually had no Super Bowl plans, he says. 

“This came together pretty quickly,” Truby says.

Ford will continue to run the #FinishStrong messaging campaign in these hot-spot regions through February. It is also planning mask distribution days at nonprofits and local Ford dealerships in communities across the U.S. as part of a concentrated effort beginning Feb. 18.

The company aims to eventually distribute a total of 15-million medical grade masks in the areas targeted by the Super Bowl effort.

Ford is also involved in creating new innovative PPE including a patent-pending design for a clear N95 mask that allows hearing-impaired people to read lips and view expressions.

The company is also involved in an open source design for a fan and air conditioning filter combination that can be used to help reduce airborne viruses in enclosed spaces. People can make the kit at home or in school.

The company plans to donate up to 20,000 air filtration kits to under-served communities. More details will be shared by March. 

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