Four hundred-plus employees, thousands of hours of blood, sweat and
tears as well as dealer insights are fueling Ford’s quest to win
customers on the strength of its vehicle quality, fuel economy, safety
advances and smart technology.
“The best part of Ford’s story
is unfolding in the studios, labs, factories and dealerships, and we’re
opening the door a bit, so people can see inside,” said Jim Farley,
Ford’s group vice president of Marketing and Communications.
“Customers are smart. When they meet our team and see what they’re
working on, people will finally understand where the excellence in our
products is coming from. That’s what this campaign is all about.”
week alone, Ford hopes to reach 70 million Americans with the best
thinking and hard work of engineers, scientists, designers and
technical experts and dealers throughout the country, who have been
working together since November to start telling Ford’s story.
collective effort is called “Drive one,” which chronicles in digital,
TV and print media how Ford employees have closed the gap with Asian
competitors on quality, advanced vehicle safety, made vehicles more
fuel efficient and led the industry in developing in-car connectivity.
It also invites people to drive a Ford and see for themselves how the
company’s vehicles stack up versus the competition.
four areas – quality, green, safe, smart – match customer concerns 100
percent,” said Victor Benitez, vice president and general manager of
Gus Machado Ford in Hialeah, Fla. He helped develop “Drive one” with
Ford employees, other dealers and Ford’s agencies – JWT Team Detroit
and Wunderman Team Detroit, both part of the WPP Group.
super group test drove 60 different themes and taglines, sometimes in
unusually hands-on ways. For instance, Ford’s Marketing Dealer
Advisory Board participated in a consumer-style focus group, complete
with professional facilitators and one-way mirrors.
week, Ford brought experts and hands-on technology demonstrations on
quality, fuel economy, safety and smart technology to share with more
than 3,000 dealers gathered for a product introduction event in Las
“I’ve never seen this level of partnership between any
automaker and the people who spend the most time every day face-to-face
with customers,” said Charlie Gilchrist, owner of Southwest Ford in
Weatherford, Texas and chairman of the national Ford Dealer Council.
“The collaboration is great, but the end result is even better: ‘Drive
one’ is a confident statement – and an invitation to help customers
experience the product strengths that really matter to people.”
Finding the Story
“Drive one” is being introduced just as Ford’s rollout of new products
is accelerating: 70 percent of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products will
be new or significantly freshened by the end of the year, and the
company’s quality is at record levels.
week, Ford released findings from the RDA Group research that shows
Ford is second to none in vehicle quality in the U.S. Ford has now
matched Toyota and Honda in initial quality. This news follows a
strong showing in 2007, when Ford earned more J.D. Power Initial
Quality awards than any other company.
To help tell the quality
story, camera crews and agency reporters interviewed 115 designers,
engineers and technical experts and visited facilities that most people
inside the company will never see.
This includes a room
called the “Bat Cave,” where Ford employees conduct virtual reality
quality experiments, as well as the VIRTTEX lab. It features a
full-motion driving simulator where Ford studies driver drowsiness,
distraction and tries finding new ways to boost safety.
we found was inspiring,” said John Felice, Ford Division general
marketing manager. “As strong as the technology is, what’s even more
impressive is how proud people are of their work – and how much they
want to help the company succeed.”
Count Product Design
Engineer Jason Johnson among them. He works on SYNC, a Ford-exclusive
technology that allows users to control Bluetooth-equipped cell phones
hands-free, using voice commands.
of my favorite things to do is talk about the work I do,” said Johnson,
who will be featured in Ford commercials and webisodes. “But going
through this process, I was surprised to learn we’re using recycled and
organic material in our seats, and I didn’t realize all the work we’re
doing on safety and hybrids. Now I have more to talk about with my
friends and neighbors.”
Employees including Elizabeth Baron,
a virtual reality and advanced visualization technical expert, believes
Ford might have a better idea in its new communications plan.
is a lot of good work going on at Ford, and I’m actually seeing results
from the great products we’re putting on the road today,” she said.
“My 16-year-old daughter’s friend wants to get a Focus because of SYNC,
and her parents approve because of the safety ratings. The family is
not loyal to purchasing Ford products, so I count this as a win. With
‘Drive one,’ now we have even more ways to win people over.”
Ford will continue to update www.forddriveone.com
with new webisodes, with as many as 30 planned to launch over the
spring and summer. Televised 30- and 60-second spots will air
throughout the summer as well.
Regional Advertising to Focus on Vehicles, Consumers
with the national launch of “Drive one,” Ford dealers around the
country will begin airing a complementary series of Drive One
television, print and digital ads built around the theme, “Town to Town
– Friend to Friend.”
To film these experiences, Ford approached
competitive vehicle owners in two towns – Marietta, Ga. and Windsor,
Calif. – and asked them to drive a Ford for a week and then share it
with a friend.
Ford crews filmed 180 test drives,
creating more than 20 unscripted, 30-second commercials covering nearly
the entire Ford product range. Although the vehicles varied, the
results were the same: people were pleasantly surprised by Ford
“To be honest, I was skeptical of Ford vehicles. But
after spending nearly a week in a Ford Escape, my perceptions
completely changed about the Ford brand,” said Amy Hardigree, who
appears in one of Ford’s “Town to Town – Friend to Friend”
advertisements. “I was so impressed by the design and technology, I
realized what I was missing in my Volkswagen Beetle, and it was great
that I was able to then share the experience with my friend.”