- The Ford Motor Company has launched a new campaign to promote the 2020 model of its best-selling Escape SUV, the company revealed in a press release. The promotion focuses on the behind-the-scenes efforts of women of color, who work to produce successful ad campaigns.
- Actress Angela Bassett narrates the "Built Phenomenally" spot, which stars a real-life Ford commercial team composed of black women including the director, marketers, stylists, copywriters and make-up artists. The "Own It" commercial shows women of color owning their destiny and driving the new Ford Escape.
- The integrated campaign includes television, digital, social media, print and experiential efforts. Ford's support of nonprofits Made in Her Image and Girls Make Beats, which help advance girls in media and music, respectively, is highlighted in branded content.
Ford's latest effort, which targets African American women, illustrates the brand's commitment to inclusive representation in its advertising. The campaign comes after the signature car model experienced a drop in sales last year, and the company hopes to make a rebound. By expanding its advertising messaging to focus on women of color, the brand hopes to build awareness with consumers in this target demographic.
The "Built Phenomenally" spot highlights Ford's real-world commitment to hiring women of color, and especially black women, as it looks to craft marketing messages with those demographics in mind. This approach could help the carmaker avoid claims of woke-washing, wherein brands don't back up purpose-driven marketing with real action.
Ford is a founding partner of Free the Work, a nonprofit database that helps underrepresented populations, such as women of color, find work in creative careers. Ford worked with its agency partner UWG and Free the Work to find the talent for the production. Additionally, Ford followed the ANA's #SeeHer movement, a campaign to push positive representations of black women in media and advertising created by and for black women.
#SeeHer has been a major part of the advertising industry's work to address gender equality. P&G hosted the #SheIsEqual Summit in partnership with Global Citizen and #SeeHer, and its Secret brand created the #IdRatherGetPaid campaign, starring African-American actress Rinny Perkins leading a song and dance number about the need for equal pay. Similarly, Budweiser, in collaboration with #SeeHer, owned up to its biased history on International Women's Day last year by reimagining some sexist ads to portray women in a more positive light.
Ford is not the only major marketer to target African-American consumers. McDonald's ran "Black & Positively Golden" last year, a campaign aimed at black millennials with a message of empowerment and entrepreneurship. The effort was part of its push to better support consumer demands for digital technology, which was largely driven by target groups like African-American millennials.