When it comes to marketing trucks, automakers have with few exceptions filled ads with white male leads engaging in a series of testosterone-fueled activities like hauling boulders, blazing trails or towing mass amounts of machinery. But as Ford begins advertising its new Maverick compact pickup, it is flipping the script in search of a new kind of truck buyer.
The star of the launch campaign is Gabrielle Union, the Black actress known for roles in movies such as the cheerleading flick “Bring it On” and for sharing parenting pics on social media with husband and ex-National Basketball League star Dwyane Wade. She is a far cry from traditional truck ad stars such as Denis Leary, who for years barked at viewers in boastful truck ads that deployed phrases like “look,” “hey,” or “pal” until he was sidelined a couple years ago for the gravely voiced Bryan Cranston.
With the pivot, Ford is prioritizing younger, urban-dwelling and diverse drivers whom the automaker is banking are willing to trade in their sedans for something more able to handle a weekend trip to go kayaking or biking. Maverick—which is expected to hit dealerships this fall—will become Ford’s smallest and most-affordable truck. The brand teased it today with digital videos, including one in which Union gives a glimpse of the Maverick while telling viewers, “the truck you didn’t see coming, is coming.”