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Ford shifts gears with innovation ads

Marketing focus: Ford will change up its advertising campaign to promote its new line-up that includes the heavily revised Focus.

‘Attack ads’ on back-burner as Ford tackles closure perception with new series


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19 Oct 2015

FORD’s new advertising campaign is aimed at exposing a younger generation of Australians to its new range of vehicles, while fighting the perception that the brand will disappear with local manufacturing next year.

Designed by its global advertising group, Blue Hive, the campaign will feature a series of television ads starring young Australians who have gone against the grain to find success.

“Many people think there’s not a future for the auto industry in Australia, but we are showing Ford and Australian innovations that bring optimism in a surprising way that can shake misconceptions – just like people find when they give our new vehicles a go,” said Ford Australia president and CEO Graeme Whickman.

Included in the ad campaign is a Bobcat driver turned model, a doodling student who developed top-20 phone apps during class and a mechanical engineer who is an Australian youth ambassador to the United Nations.

“Many people also do not realise we will continue to innovate in Australia, as we become the country’s largest auto employer from 2017 with around 1500 highly skilled employees across professions such as design and engineering,” said Mr Whickman.

The campaign will incorporate the majority of the company’s revamped local range, including the locally developed Everest and soon-to-be-launched Mustang, but with the exception of the outgoing Falcon and Territory.

“This campaign started in the United States, and we’re the first market outside the US to run it, but with a very Australian feel,” Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told GoAuto.

Blue Hive’s Australian office is based in Richmond, Victoria and works closely with the Ford Australia team. “It’s been about a six-month process to get to this point,” said Mr Sherwood. “It will be a long-term platform for us going forward.”

While billboard advertising and television spots will spearhead the campaign, Mr Sherwood that the constantly evolving digital space is still a large point of focus.

“We see social digital as a huge priority for us,” he said. “You won’t see the same Tier One elements, as we call them, across the whole campaign, but the Australian-ness will be easy to see throughout.”

The company’s divisive ‘comparison’ ads that compare various Ford models including the Mondeo, Kuga and Everest with equivalent Toyota models, will continue, according to Mr Sherwood.

“If you look at how we segment our audiences, our older audiences respond well to that (style of ad),” said Mr Sherwood. “Younger audiences respond more to the notion of challenging perceptions.

“Whether we’re challenging Prado with Everest, or challenging the notion of local closure, or challenging whether an engineer can represent Australia at the UN, it’s all about challenging misconceptions.”

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