Ford isn't obscuring its brand identity in its new "Go Further" campaign because executives are afraid of American consumers' preconceived notions about Ford. They're pretty happy with Ford's brand equity in its home country right now, thank you, after Ford relied on its own resources to lead the Detroit Three back to financial soundness and market-share gains over the last few years.
But Ford does want to tease viewers into taking a close look at the Ford products and features highlighted in the ad, unaffected by overall brand impressions. So Ford isn't named in the ad, and its iconic blue oval logo isn't shown either.
"The idea was to start out to get peple talking and then introduce slightly different versions of the ads later on, with Ford front and center," Mark Schirmer, a Ford marketing spokesman, told brandchannel. "It allows the product to shine without any feeling left, right up or down. There is no branding involved."
The commercial asks how a brand can stand out in today's auto market and then answers with glimpses of and sound bites about Ford products and innovations including its upcoming Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines, the Sync infotainment system, Ford's self-parking technology and a feature it has begun rolling out on the new Escape which senses foot movement beneath the rear bumper and opens the hatch.
While the campaign initially rolled out to Ford dealerships, the first consumer commercial invites viewers — presumably curious about the advertiser — to go to GoFurther.com.
“At Ford, we Go Further because we serve each other – and that’s service to the local community, our dealers, ourselves as employees and our customers,” stated Jim Farley, Ford's Group Vice President, Marketing, Sales & Service. “We are also committed to innovation and making our customers’ lives better in surprising ways. But we want to go further than just innovate. We want to make that innovation available to everyone, not just a few people.”
The spot is only the first effort by Ford as it pivots over the long term into "Go Further" positioning and leaves its longstanding "Drive One" campaign, most recently featuring real Ford owners and (more controversially) actors playing reporters who pepper them with questions about how they like their new Ford vehicles.
"There's a deliberate shift now from people and more to showcasing what's in the showroom," Schirmer explained. "Our cars are strong enough to speak for themselves right now."
Interestingly, the only Ford nameplate or brand called out in the ad is EcoBoost, the name for the family of turbocharged and fuel-injected engines that Ford now is spreading across almost its entire family of vehicles, as American consumers enthusiastically buy into the higher fuel economy the engines are delivering, without loss of power.
"That's an example of where we're making something 'go further' — the internal-combustion engine," Schirmer said.
Next, Ford ads under the rubric will identify the car brand. The hook has been set.