Ford is planning an expansive new brand advertising campaign beginning next month, but with a twist—at least for Ford. The new initiative will begin with traditional TV and print treatments and only then segue into an extensive social media and digital phase. Lately, Ford has gotten a reputation for doing just the opposite.
But the main point of this effort, which Ford is calling its "And Not Or" campaign, is to highlight the fact that buyers can have great fuel economy with Ford's EcoBoost engines as well as other important attributes of Ford vehicles including roominess, styling and performance.
"We're going to communicate good fuel ecomomy, but we're the brand that gives you 'and' as well—for example, fuel economy with functionality," Scott Kelly, Ford's marketing-communications manager, told brandchannel. "It's a unique proposition. Our brand promise is that we 'Go Further.' With this, we're trying to underscore that we are the brand that goes further."
Another primary goal, Kellly said, is to fortify Ford's position in what the company has defined as the "super segment" of the vehicle market that is comprised of small cars and small SUVS—or, in Ford's case, the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion cars and Escape SUV. Much of the industry's growth is expected to occur in those mileage-sensitive parts of the market over the next few years.
And while 2013 presents a bit of a lull for Ford in terms of important new small vehicles, he said, "This is a year of sustainment, so we're making bigger statements about the brand."
The "And Not Or" campaign will unfold with humor-based TV and print advertisements that begin with a television ad for Focus that poses the absurdity of ordering "sweet or sour chicken" at a Chinese restaurant. Other creative executions will be based on concepts including "black or white photography" and "rock or roll music."
"We know humorous ads do better on TV and they're more interesting to watch," Kelly said. "You'll see an even mix of humor and information, all around the idea that 'and' is better than 'or.'"
And while EcoBoost has skyrocketed in popularity with American automotive consumers, as well as awareness—about 50 percent of Americans already are aware of the engine sub-brand—Ford wants to build on its success. To do so, he explained, TV and print are the best tools "for building mass awareness. Then we'll use digital to explain more about what EcoBoost is."
Of course, this is exactly the opposite approach of what Ford recently has made a specialty among automotive advertisers: teasing with social media marketing efforts and then bringing in traditional-media treatments. That's what it is doing currently, for instance, with the second execution of its Ford Fiesta campaign that Ford debuted three years ago by "seeding" the new car with 100 bloggers and other online influencers.
The "And Not Or" campaign will be "huge," Kelly said, covering the rest of 2013 and involving six of Ford's key nameplates overall. In marketing terms, he said, it really will comprise a big way for Ford to "Go Further."