Ford takes targeted marketing approach for Ranger comeback

Outdoorsy digital ads are tailor made for five cities

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Ford is taking a local marketing approach as brings its Ranger pickup truck back to the U.S. after an eight-year absence.

The automaker partnered with Outside TV on a campaign debuting today that pitches the truck to outdoor adventurists. The effort includes a national TV spot called "Strange Creatures," (above) plus ads that are specifically tailored for Boston, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and Seattle.

In assembling the local spots, Ford partnered with Outside TV and Google to identify what adventure activities and personalities resonate in each city based on search trends. An ad targeting Denver, for instance, features river kayaker Tyler Bradt, backcountry skier Cynthia Johnson and Mickey Wilson, a base jumper and slackliner. Slacklining is an emerging outdoor sport that resembles tightrope walking.

A spot geared for Phoenix includes a mountain biker and climber.

The campaign, called "Tough Has More Fun," made use of a total of 15 adventure athletes. The city-targeted spots will run on digital, social and at movie theaters, but could be expanded to TV if they prove successful, according to a Ford spokeswoman. The automaker could also potentially grow the list of cities.

The agency behind the campaign WPP's GTB. The effort was in development before Ford officially added Wieden & Kennedy and BBDO to its creative agency roster late last year.

"This campaign brings 'Built Ford Tough' to life in the adventure space—new territory for Ford trucks—in a way that is decidedly not one-size-fits-all," Matt VanDyke, Ford director of U.S. marketing, said in a press release.

Ford began selling the Ranger again in January after halting sales in 2011. The automaker now sees a sweet spot in the market for the midsize truck after its F-150 full-size pickup got larger and pricier, according to Automotive News.

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