Motor Co.’s 2-month-old “Bold Moves” marketing campaign is resonating well with dealers and customers of all ages, says Ford Brand Marketing Manager John Felice.
The multimedia campaign includes elements that are edgier than those utilized byin the past, such as a mailer featuring a 1970s-era picture of two high school prom-goers that gives no hint of being an advertisement until it’s opened to reveal a Ford Escape promotion.
Some elements of Bold Moves also feature an original song written and performed for Ford by past “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson titled “Go.”
Felice says the seemingly youth-oriented campaign targets “lust for life” customers, or those who live every day to its fullest. Such consumers could be “20 or 60 (years old),” he says.
“The group we’re targeting is an attitudinal grouping,” Felice tells Ward’s.
“We’ve done a very in-depth psychographic segmentation of the marketplace. We have reams of data of whom we want to target, and being an attitudinal group, it transcends age boundaries.”
The attitudinal group Felice refers to does not include the gay and lesbian audience the Christian-conservative American Family Assn. has criticized Ford for targeting in some of its advertisements, he says.
“No Bold Moves ads were placed in any of those (gay and lesbian) publications,” he says.
Bold Moves does target a variety of cultural groups and takes into account regional differences in the U.S., Felice says.
The campaign was created for Ford by its longtime advertising agency of record, Detroit, MI-based JWT (formerly J. Walter Thompson). JWT, Felice says, was instrumental in helping Ford change its marketing direction.
“They were very much core to the development of the campaign and helping us find the target customer,” he says. “It’s been a lot of change, and an energetic process.”
Ford’s dealer network has been receptive, as well, Felice says, adding dealers are being asked to implement elements of the campaign into their local advertising initiatives.
Typically, some dealers prefer to handle local advertising without corporate input, but that has not been the case with Bold Moves, Felice says.
“About a month ago we brought in our top 150 dealers to share campaign details with them and make sure they continue to reinforce our marketing platform,” he says. “It’s not us vs. them. The challenge is working together to better align the message.”
Another aspect of the campaign is a Web-based documentary showcasing the auto maker’s internal workings as it undergoes a massive North American restructuring.
Felice says studies revealed consumers were receptive to the idea of a documentary providing an inside look at Ford.
“We came up with a lot of ideas, and we thoroughly researched them. One of the ideas that resonated with consumers was the documentary,” Felice says. “That was a motivator moving forward.”
To create the documentary, Ford hired an independent outside agency to film Ford employees, ranging from assembly line workers to high ranking executives, while on the job.
Nearly two months into filming, the documentary is a no-holds-barred look at the auto maker as it works to reinvent itself, says a Ford spokesman.
“We’re going to show the good, the bad and the ugly,” he says. “We are showing people who don’t agree with us, as well as those who do. People will be surprised when they see it.”
The documentary is expected to be launched later this month or in early July, at www.fordboldmoves.com.