Watch the ads Ford is running as it reopens plants
Ford Motor Co. is highlighting its critical role in the U.S. economy in a new ad campaign launching this week, days ahead of a planned restart of North American vehicle production.
The company released three spots under the title "Built for America," a follow-up campaign to its "Built to Lend a Hand" commercials that offered customers payment relief amid the coronavirus crisis. The three new spots focus on Ford's industry-leading domestic vehicle production numbers as well as efforts to mass-produce masks, gowns, ventilators and other protective equipment. Wieden+Kennedy New York handled the ads.
The TV buy includes primetime network programming, morning and evening news, plus cable entertainment and sports, including Fox’s coverage of Nascar, which returns to racing Sunday after pausing events during the pandemic.
"We want to strike a note of optimism as we start to get back to work," Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas and international markets group, told Automotive News. "It's this connection between our company and the country. Our country collectively is going through a difficult time. Even in these difficult times, the U.S. workers and the country in general has been extremely resilient."
The spots are meant to celebrate U.S. workers as Ford prepares to reopen most U.S. manufacturing facilities Monday. None of the ads mention specific vehicles.
"We're here for a reason, and it's bigger than selling cars," actor Bryan Cranston narrates in one spot, titled "Why We're Here." The commercial features images of nurses, firefighters, construction workers and farmers.
"There's always some big challenge trying to take us out, to shake our resolve," Cranston says. "If you're out there fighting through it, we know 260,000 people who have your back."
Another spot, called "The Reason," highlights Ford's factory workers in Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky, noting Ford employs more hourly workers than any other U.S. automaker. The third spot, titled "The Connection," plays up the fact that Ford builds more vehicles in the U.S. than its competitors and highlights its personal protective equipment production efforts.
"We've seen through social media and through our dealers the fact that more Americans are putting a renewed focus and understanding on where things are made," said Matt VanDyke, Ford's director of U.S. marketing. "I think there's an increased appreciation for that."
VanDyke said Ford will likely continue to run these types of ads after the coronavirus crisis subsides, and it will also continue to market individual vehicles.
"We're making a really distinct choice to talk more about our brand and our role here building for America," he said. "It's a story we intend to tell over the long term, but you'll also see us get back to ... talking about the fantastic products we have."
Michael Martinez is a reporter for Automotive News. Ad Age contributed to this story.