Ford declares new Bronco Sport the G.O.A.T. in ads detailing mythic origins

Dive Brief:

  • Ford is hyping the launch of a new Bronco Sport model with a series of ads playing on the phrase G.O.A.T., or “greatest of all time,” per a news release.
  • In the first of three spots developed with agency Wieden + Kennedy New York, Ford details the mythic origins of the vehicle, visualizing the Bronco Sport as a literal colt that is raised by mountain goats until it matures into its final car form. Two subsequent ads are less conceptual, instead highlighting features like a G.O.A.T. Mode dial for controlling off-road terrain management.
  • “Raised by Goats” comes as part of a “Built Wild” campaign that reintroduced the Bronco to Ford’s lineup last summer. Discussing the new ads, Ford executives told CNBC that the marketer will not run a Super Bowl commercial this year, but is looking to capture the aura of a big game spot that viewers will revisit.

Dive Insight:

Ford is looking to generate more buzz around the return of the Bronco brand with a series of ads that invoke the G.O.A.T. status — a common phrase in sports when referring to legends who defined their respective games. The automaker shut down production of the Bronco line of off-road vehicles in 1996, but kicked off an extensive marketing push to herald its return last July, promoting an array of models including two-door, four-door and Sport options.

The Bronco is positioned as Ford’s major challenge to Jeep, with the “Raised by Goats” creative looking to build an epic mythology around the Sport variant. The titular intro spot has a blockbuster quality, having been shot on location on Mt. Baker in Washington state’s North Cascades National Park.

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Ford “interviewed” and cast real goats for the shoot, which created production challenges given the animal’s temperamental nature, per the release. The G.O.A.T. acronym shares some history with Ford as well, serving as the Bronco’s internal code name — short for Goes Over All Terrain — when the vehicle was incepted in 1966.

The initial 60-second “Raised by Goats” spot premiered during the Rams-Seahawks NFL Playoffs Wild Card game Saturday. “Go There,” the second ad in the series, debuted Monday on Good Morning America, while the finale, titled “Find Your Wild,” will air in February and centers on the Bronco Sport’s customization options.

Ford only occasionally runs Super Bowl ads, but eschewing 2021’s big game could still draw attention given the amount of marketing muscle the automaker is putting behind the Bronco’s revival. Marketers have generally been more quiet about their Super Bowl plans this season as the coronavirus pandemic adds additional uncertainty to the game, including the possibility it could be rescheduled for later in February. CBS, the host network of this year’s game, had sold about 80% of its ad inventory as of early December, Ad Age previously reported.

Along with Ford, ​Hyundai will not air an ad during the Super Bowl, a company spokesperson told Ad Age, noting that the carmaker “will certainly be back” in the future. Pepsi, the regular Super Bowl halftime show sponsor, last week announced it will not run a commercial at the game. Instead, the soft drink giant is promoting an extensive campaign that spotlights headline act The Weeknd.

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