It doesn't mention any competitors by name, but Ford's latest commercial for the segment-leading F-150 pickup is meant to remind viewers where the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 stand, even after both were redesigned this year.
The 30-second spot, called "Big Dog," reinforces the nameplate's leadership in the full-size pickup segment and features a Great Dane, sand sculptures and comedian Denis Leary, a veteran of F-150 ads.
"This year was really about reiterating F-150's standing and how that looms big over the competition," Paul Trillo, the commercial's director, told Automotive News. "The rest of the trucks on the market are sort of in F-150's shadow, so no matter what they do, they are always going to be below the big dog."
The spot was produced by Ford's ad agency, GTB, which enlisted creative services company Big Block. The commercial's director of photography, Paul Cameron, has worked on TV shows such as Westworld and movies including the Pirates of the Caribbeanfranchise.
Despite the boasts, the automaker does not directly call out Ram or Chevy, in contrast to the Chevy Silverado commercials that attacked Ford by name and literally poked holes in the aluminum bed of an F-150.
"When you're the No. 1, best-selling truck in America, there's no need to directly call out the competition by name," Trillo said. "Instead, it was about visualizing the F-150's prowess in a way that no other truck commercial would do. There's a cheekiness to the visuals, from the dog bobblehead to the exploding truck sand sculpture, that reminds us F-150 remains in the lead and it's not afraid of having a little fun while it's ahead."
Ford's F series has been the nation's top-selling pickup for the past 41years, but competition is increasing. The Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 have been updated this year with new engines, interiors and unique features meant to eat into the F series' market share. Ford, meanwhile, has added a diesel option to its truck.
F series U.S. sales grew 4.8 percent to 603,926 vehicles through August. Silverado sales increased 4.4 percent to 379,441 units, according to Automotive News estimates, while Ram brand sales fell 1.9 percent to 360,214 units.
Trillo said GTB and Ford essentially gave him a "blank canvas" to create the ad, and the idea to use dog imagery came from lead copywriter Tom O'Connor and Brad Hensen, the commercial's executive creative director.
Big Block shot the ad in multiple locations in California. It will run nationally through year end, particularly during NFL games.
Michael Martinez is a writer for Automotive News