Ford Motor Co. hopes to use the 2018 Winter Olympics as the coming-out party for its new EcoSport subcompact crossover and redesigned Expedition large SUV.
The automaker on Thursday unveiled two ad campaigns for its smallest crossover and largest SUV, timed to debut at the start of the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In addition to TV commercials, Ford plans to run print and radio ads as well as targeted social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The campaigns, while different, share a theme of highlighting authentic human experiences and how Ford vehicles can improve quality of life.
"I think brands are simply a representation of the people that invest their time and equity into them," Michael O'Brien, Ford's SUV marketing manager, told Automotive News. "The Ford brand is so strong in terms of family and togetherness, this notion of seeking experiences, doing more, learning more. These spots are a wonderful, authentic way to show the role our vehicles play in real people's lives."
Because this is the first time Ford has offered the EcoSport to U.S. buyers, the ad campaign is called "First Ever" and is built around first-time experiences. In the commercials, Ford finds real people who have unique bucket-list items and gives them an EcoSport to help achieve their goals. In one instance, a photographer wants to explore her city and take photos of local workers. In another, a daughter wants to take her mother skiing at night.
O'Brien said the ads target millennials and baby boomers.
"With EcoSport, it's less about demographics and more about a mindset," he said. "There's this optimism and activeness to these customers. Age is immaterial."
In January, the EcoSport's first month on sale in the U.S., Ford sold 500 of the crossovers, and officials said tens of thousands were in transit from India, where they're built.
The Expedition campaign, called "We the People," focuses on togetherness and spotlights inspirational groups from across the country, including a marching band from Dallas and a junior hockey team from Utah.
Expedition retail sales in January jumped 58.6 percent. This is the first time in two decades that Ford has redesigned the vehicle.
"The brand is extremely strong," O'Brien said. "There's already tremendous favorability and latent demand. This is a wonderful ability to really grow the audience."
O'Brien said Ford is using new advertising techniques to target customers in specific regions who are most likely to buy those vehicles.
Both ad campaigns were developed by Ford's in-house creative team, GTB.
"Both campaigns work on such an emotional level," Tito Melega, GTB's chief creative officer said in a statement. "They tie together the vehicles and the everyday unstoppable heroes who drive them, by empowering people to strive to achieve dreams they never thought were possible."