2021 ALL STAR | MARKETING AND PR
SUZY DEERING and MARK TRUBY
Chief marketing officer and chief communications officer,
Ford Motor Co.
Ford Motor Co.’s marketing and public relations departments have consistently found ways this year to promote its vehicles — even when it didn’t mean to.
After severe winter weather left many Texas residents without power, the company jumped at news of Texans powering their homes with the F-150’s new on-board generator. Within days the story was picked up by national news sites, and the anecdote eventually became a key selling point for the vehicle.
Later in the year, when President Joe Biden visited Michigan, Ford’s communications team scrambled to accommodate a last-minute presidential request to drive a yet-to-be-revealed F-150 Lightning. The vehicle earned a glowing endorsement from the president and garnered an entire prime-time segment on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Aside from those spur-of-the-moment events, Ford’s press shop helped land Linda Zhang, chief engineer of the Lightning, on the cover of Time magazine, and earned awards for developing an eight-part podcast series on the return of the Bronco SUV. It also received praise for the “Built For America” advertising campaign, which launched at the start of the year.
The success in telling Ford’s story can be credited to both a longtime employee and a high-profile new hire.
Mark Truby, 51, was named chief communications officer in 2017 and has held various PR roles since joining the company in 2007. Suzy Deering, 52, was hired in January as chief marketing officer after stints at eBay and Verizon.
“Ford is an iconic company and we have such an interesting story to tell right now as we launch blockbuster new products and move aggressively into electric vehicles,” Truby told Automotive News. “We try to bring this story to life every day. Some days that means scrambling to arrange a presidential test drive of F-150 Lightning or announcing the largest EV manufacturing investment in U.S. history. Sometimes it’s as simple as answering a customer’s question or helping a son give his dying father a special day out in a new Bronco.”