Ford's VanDyke Named Automotive Marketer Of The Year

Matt VanDyke led Ford Motor Co.’s marketing efforts for several of the automotive industry’s most-talked-about and successful vehicle launches in the last 18 months, despite being in the middle of a global pandemic. 

Consumers literally cannot get enough of Ford’s new products, including the Mustang Mach-E and Bronco SUV, which is sold out until 2022 with more than 125,000 orders. Anticipation is already mounting for the 2022 Ford Maverick small truck and F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.

For these reasons, VanDyke has been selected as MediaPost’s 2020 Automotive Marketer of the Year. He will receive the honor Aug. 19 at the MediaPost Marketing: Automotive conference during the New York Auto Show at Javits Center. 

VanDyke shifted in January from Ford Division to FordDirect, which provides digital retail solutions to Ford and Lincoln dealers, where he became chief executive officer. 

From July 2018 until January, he was director of Ford’s U.S. marketing, where he lead integrated communications, digital consumer experience, brand alliances, revenue management and retail go-to market strategies.

VanDyke has been a board member of the Association of National Advertisers since October 2018. 

His previous Ford positions include vice president of marketing for Ford of Europe and also director of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln Motor Co. where he helped launch the popular Matthew McConaughey ad campaign.

Before Ford, VanDyke was the group account director for Team One Los Angeles, leading Lexus brand and dealer association advertising in the United States. 

The level of buzz and excitement around the Mach E, Bronco and Bronco Sport has been practically “deafening,” says Scotty Reiss, editor and founder of A Girls Guide To Cars and a juror for MediaPost’s Marketing: Automotive awards.

“There’s hardly a consumer who hadn’t heard of these vehicles as they rolled off the assembly line,” Reiss says. “Many bought them even before they were tested and vetted by experts, an almost-unheard-of event for a new nameplate.”

Ford’s holistic approach went beyond simple design and model spec stories to understanding what ignites customers' passions and then creating a lifestyle that elevates those passions even further, she says. 

“The brilliance is that these strategies set the stage for even more excitement and success with future introductions,” Reiss adds.

Ford also has a superior approach to electrification and its marketing, says Ian Beavis, chief strategy officer for consultants AMCI and a juror for the Marketing: Automotive awards.

“Their pivot to electric and their holistic marketing of it with Transit, Mach-e and Lightning is changing the game,” Beavis says. “With the Bronco Sport launch, they nailed it in a segment they had never participated in for years against formidable competition. Launching Sport the way they did while teasing and nurturing Bronco was genius from both a marketing and PR standpoint.”

Ford’s commercial vehicle electrification with Transit and Lightning is “blazing a trail all others will need to follow if they wish to reach critical mass with BEVs,” Beavis says.

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