Cannes Lions

Ultimate Crossover Vehicles

FORD MOTOR COMPANY, Dearborn / FORD / 2022

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Millennials have become America’s largest generation, and Gen Zs are now reaching car-buying age. With Ford’s core buyer being 55-plus2, reaching a younger audience was imperative for the 119-year-old brand. This important audience viewed Ford as a less modern and less desirable brand. Plus, they discover and interact with brands in very different ways than their parents do. So, in an effort to be seen as more exciting, relevant and built for the next generation, Ford had to engage with them in an unconventional way. Ford needed to go where millennials and Gen Zs were spending more of their time — the virtual world. A space where they could experience the brand on their terms in a way that was integrated into their lives and their passions.

Idea

Ford has always known how to reach new territory. But what they really needed to reach was a younger audience. And that audience was less interested in car brands than previous generations. And just as likely to live in the virtual world as the real one. So, we crossed over from the real to the virtual and created the ultimate crossover vehicles —ones that helped them dominate every kind of cyber terrain imaginable. Then appeared in game after game after game, running all over digital landscapes.

Strategy

A lot of brands treat gaming as just another advertising channel, but Ford saw the bigger potential of gaming as an immersive medium for brand experience. A medium that could help us build brand affinity with our target audience of Gen Zs and millennials who spend more time gaming than any other form of entertainment. This audience is suspicious of brands invading their space, so instead of acting as an advertiser (buying up digital billboards and “brought to you by” sponsorships) we made the brand a playable experience (using gaming platforms as a medium to “test-drive” the brand on their terms). By putting Ford at the center of their gaming experience, helping them explore, conquer and have fun within the gaming worlds they love, we could build a strong connection with this audience.

Execution

Many brands treat gaming as another channel for advertising. But Ford saw the potential of gaming as an immersive medium to help build affinity with a generation of car buyers who spend a massive amount of time playing. By creating collaborations with some of the biggest games on the planet — Rocket League, Forza and Riders Republic — along with 30+ other gaming franchises, we acted less like an advertiser and more like a brand that could deliver unique playable “test-drive” experiences. Coupled with amplified custom content in contextually relevant gaming media, Ford became the most talked-about auto brand in gaming.

Outcome

We elevated the presence of Ford across the full gaming landscape to win over a whole new audience. By making Ford and its vehicles an active part of the gaming experience, we became the most talked-about auto brand in gaming1.

• 1,795% increase in reach on Twitter3

• 2.6B impressions4

• Significant brand lift against gaming and auto categories4

• Became the most talked-about auto brand in gaming1

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