Ford Motor Co. is putting major marketing behind its new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover as the automaker uses one of its most iconic nameplates to muscle its way into the EV sales race that has been dominated by Tesla Inc.
The Mach-E — which is the first crossover and EV in Mustang’s 55-year history — won’t go on sale until late next year. Using a practice popularized by Tesla, Ford will begin accepting online reservations early. Starting Sunday night, buyers could begin plopping down $500 refundable deposits. But while Tesla relies mostly on news coverage and the outsized personality of Elon Musk to fuel reservation demand, Ford is pulling multiple paid media levers to build hype for the Mach-E, as well as a celebrity endorser: actor Idris Elba, who stars in TV ads by BBDO.
“Our objective is really to have about a billion impressions starting Sunday and going into next week,” Matt VanDyke, Ford’s director of U.S. marketing, said in a Friday interview. “Everything we’ve learned is [that] for vehicles that go out there and take reservations, it all happens up-front. This isn’t something with a slow burn. Our success is going to be determined based on how we get out of the gate, capturing people’s imagination and attention and drawing interest.”
On Saturday and Sunday during college and pro football broadcasts, Ford began running 15-second ads featuring Elba that teased the Mach-E without actually showing it. The crossover was formally unveiled Sunday evening at a jet hangar in Southern California in an event featuring Elba that came on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show.