Media > Media: Sectors


FORD, Brentwood / FORD / 2022


Gold Cannes Lions
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Why is this work relevant for Media?

Ford's Very Gay Raptor is relevant for Media because Ford directly addressed the homophobia and discrimination endemic to the truck category exactly where the homophobia was appearing - in its owned media channels.

Through a simple, well-placed social response and timely event appearance, Ford's stance on muscle truck culture’s homophobia problem became a global, multi-sector conversation with multiple audiences, not just those already championing LGBTQI+ rights. ?By bringing the debate to the fore, we created much needed dialogue about the issue, which kickstarted Ford’s ongoing commitment to changing it.


Ford has proudly built a strong culture of ‘tough’ through their category leading pickup trucks.

But unfortunately, an undercurrent of homophobia has become endemic in that that ‘tough’ culture, and we’re seeing casual discrimination creeping into everyday pickup truck conversations.

It came to light when Ford launched its Ranger Raptor via film on YouTube – one of the commenters remarked that the colour of the car was ‘Very Gay’ and Ford should paint it in ‘BlackNGold’ instead.

This is a problem for Ford, a brand that has been backing LGBTQI+ rights for over 25 years.

Describe the creative idea / insights

Ford responded swiftly by re-editing the footage to give the Ranger Raptor a digital gold glitter and rainbow paint job in celebration of Pride, to the delight and disgust of the internet – the Very Gay Raptor was born.

Encouraged by the commenters asking for the Very Gay Raptor to be made in real life, Ford debuted the real-life Very Gay Raptor at Cologne Pride, which garnered worldwide media attention.

Describe the strategy

The primary target of the initial social activity was Ford's own truck audience. It was within this group that discriminatory behaviour was identified, and it was within this group that Ford had an existing following.

While the activity received overwhelming support from LGBTQI+ advocacy groups, the goal of the activity was to bring homophobia awareness to groups who either thought homophobia was acceptable, or thought it was no longer a problem in 2022.

After Ford's initial social post, Ford turned its own, physical vehicle into a platform for raising awareness of the issue. The 'deeds, not words' approach of debuting the Very Gay Raptor vehicle at Cologne's Christopher Street Day Parade created a global news story amongst mainstream media.

Describe the execution

1. JUNE 2021: Original clapback social post ‘Very gay is a compliment, right?’ (Pan-European distribution via Ford’s Twitter and IG)

2.JULY 2021: IRL Very Gay Raptor at Christopher Street Day parade, Cologne & supporting press release – distributed to German consumer, auto and LGBTQI+ media and international newswires

3.JULY 2021: LinkedIn post from Head of FordPro Europe

4.JULY / ongoing… Very Gay Raptor employee tour of Ford plants in Germany & UK and appearance at relevant automotive and LGBTQ+ events subsequently

5.AUGUST 2021: Follow up social post ‘You asked us to make it real, so we did’ (pan-European distribution via Ford’s twitter and IG)

The plan was carefully crafted in conjunction with the UK and German chairpersons of Ford Pride – Ford’s LGBTQI+ resource group, in order to ensure the right tonality.

List the results

Over 200m media and social impressions to date:

• 140+ media articles, with a reach of over 22 million (Prime-Cision)

•146m+ impressions and 38k total post interactions on Facebook

•Over 5.9m+ impressions, 118k engagements on IG

•32m+ impressions, 4.5k+ tweets/re-tweets and 4k+ users directly engaging via twitter

•On the Ford of Europe channels, we recorded more than 4m organic impressions and 307k+ total engagements on the recent VGR post. These results are significantly higher than Ford’s usual organic performance across Twitter and Instagram.

•A Brandwatch sentiment analysis found, that although there was some negativity on the post (8%), 91% were neutral-positive

•Popular TikTok influencer Josh Helfgott (4.5M followers) posted a positive video of the #VeryGayRaptor, viewed 5.5 million times, 1.3M likes and 12.3k comments

The Very Gay Raptor has kickstarted Ford's leadership of a cross industry anti-discrimination programme called 'Driving Pride' to help transform the category.

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