Employees in Ads put heart on Ford face

Ford Logo

Ford Logo


The Ford Windstar commercial that spotlights the mothers among its engineers is among the best-liked car commercials measured since 1995 by Ad Track, USA TODAY’s exclusive consumer poll.

Of the 28 automobile campaigns measured in that time by Ad Track, the Ford commercial ranks as the fourth most-popular.

The commercial was best-liked among respondents ages 25 to 29 – 70% said they liked it “a lot.” And people in the eastern and western USA liked it better than others.

Overall, 33% of Ad Track respondents said they liked the ad “a lot.”

And very few – just 6% – disliked the spot.

“I like the idea of a woman designing a car with the needs of her children in mind,” says Amador Vega, 35, a social worker in Long Beach, Calif. “People who are family-oriented will want this because it is a safe van.”

Ogilvy & Mather senior partner Richard Bonner-Davies says the commercial was part of an effort by Ford’s ad agency to humanize the company, which had pitched “quality” for 17 years. The ad agency learned from focus groups that the car company was viewed as a faceless giant.

“Our job was to give Ford a heart – to demonstrate that this is a company made of people like you and me trying to produce product that’s relevant,” he says.

“We wanted to demonstrate that, in short, Ford gets it.”

Other commercials in the campaign also feature Ford employees. One, Dennis Porter, talks about crashing 600 cars a year to make sure they’re safe.

Marketing consultant Ken Harris of Cannondale Associates says using employees in a corporate pitch can be effective for a big company.

“In an impersonal world, if consumers feel a company has a heart, they might feel better about buying a car designed for their kids,” he says.

Contribution: Christine Sparta



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