To showcase the rugged Ford Bronco Sport to the public for the first time, the Detroit-area auto manufacturer has enlisted Wieden+Kennedy New York to create a debut ad campaign that emphasizes the 4x4 SUV’s ruggedness and distinguishes it from the other models in the Ford Bronco family.
In “Raised by Goats,” the first of three new TV spots that form the backbone of the new campaign, a herd of the titular animal guides an uncertain colt over harsh terrain, only for it to gain its footing and transform in a dark cave into the 2021 Bronco Sport. After the horse-to-vehicle evolution, about two-thirds of the way through, the remainder of the ad focuses on the vehicle’s ruggedness, exemplifying its tagline: “Built Wild.”
“We thought, what’s our ‘Super Bowl spot’ that’s breakthrough and going to get this vehicle noticed in a big way,” Stuart Jennings, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy New York, said of the ad’s creation during a media showcase this week. (His comment was just a figure of speech, though; a Ford representative has confirmed the automaker will not be airing a commercial during Super Bowl LV next month.)
The goats’ placement in the commercial is a nod to the Bronco’s seven available “G.O.A.T. modes”—shorthand for “Goes Over Any Type of Terrain”—which was also Ford’s original codename for the in-development 1966 Bronco.
In creating the Bronco Sport’s first-ever campaign, Jennings identified three primary objectives for the creative: building Sport model-specific awareness outside of the wider Bronco umbrella; demonstrating the vehicle’s all-terrain capabilities and “adventure-readiness”; and highlighting interior features, such as optimized storage capacity, that let the Bronco Sport serve as a “mobile basecamp.”
To address those objectives, W+K created two other commercials, titled “Go There” and “Find Your Wild,” that round out the campaign’s trio alongside the flagship “Raised by Goats” spot.
The Bronco Sport campaign broke on TV during this psat weekend’s NFL games, and will also air during Monday’s College Football Playoff championship match-up between Ohio State and Alabama. “Raised by Goats” will run first, with the other two ads entering the rotation shortly after.
The campaign is slated to run through the spring on linear TV, as well as via social, digital and connected and addressable TV channels, before Ford’s messaging shifts to focus on the entire Bronco line-up “in the second half of the year,” said Matt VanDyke, the automaker’s director of U.S. marketing. "Raised by Goats" was directed by Imperial Woodpecker's Stacy Wall, with "Find Your Wild" by Lisa Gunning.
The Bronco Sport’s target customers are not “point A to point B people,” VanDyke added, referencing its all-terrain ability to plow through snow, navigate mud and ford rivers (no pun intended). Marketed to chip away at the segment occupied by some competitor models from Jeep and Subaru, the vehicle’s inaugural public messaging is designed to clearly communicate that it’s more than just a commuter vehicle, he said.
Shot on location in Washington’s North Cascades National Park, the production didn’t just put the Bronco Sport through the wringer like its adventurous owners will; it tested the crew’s resolve, too, Jennings said.
Between an unexpected snowfall, training the troupe of mountain goats, working with animal handlers, and implementing appropriate COVID-19 protocols on set, “It was a very interesting shoot, to say the least,” he said.