The all-new Ranger is Built Ford Tough, and Ford’s new marketing campaign for Ranger reflects that cultural truth. Read more about Built Ford Tough and the rest of our truths here.
The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger is Built Ford Tough and designed specially for customers who live for adventure, making “Tough Has More Fun” the ideal name for the midsize truck’s new marketing campaign.
“Just like a carabiner that you would rely on to keep you from falling off the side of a mountain, Ranger is the ultimate piece of gear that you can count on to take you on any type of adventure,” said Ranger Marketing Manager Chad Callander. “That’s the idea that we’re bringing to life through the Tough Has More Fun campaign.”
Ford has dominated the truck market for decades, largely due to the truck team’s deep understanding of the customer. According to Callander, Ranger attracts a new type of buyer to the Ford brand – one that is focused more on play and less on work.
“These are outdoor enthusiasts who love activities like rock climbing, snowboarding and kayaking. They like to challenge themselves mentally and physically to see what they can accomplish,” he said. “They view their truck as a tool to take them on their adventures and get them back safely so they need it to be durable and reliable.”
Callander said Ranger customers want a truck that is smaller and more nimble than a full-size pickup but just as tough.
“They want a versatile, more maneuverable truck that gets good gas mileage, fits easily into their garage and takes them where they want to go, but they also want the durability, reliability and quality that makes our products Built Ford Tough,” he said.
“Built Ford Tough is not just a marketing slogan for us. It’s a core thread that ran through every decision we made about Ranger. We even torture-tested the vehicle alongside our F-150 trucks,” said Callander. “Everything about Ranger – from its frame-mounted steel bumpers to its fully-boxed, high-strength steel frame – is Built Ford Tough.”
To spread the word about the new Ranger, the Ford Marketing team created two Tough Has More Fun 30-second television ads. “Strange Creatures” positions Ranger as gear built for humans, “the strangest of creatures,” who seek out challenging outdoor adventures despite the danger, pain and effort involved just for the fun of them. The second spot, “Gear,” highlights features like a Terrain Management System, bash plate and electronic locking rear differential that make Ranger the ideal gear for the toughest outdoor adventures.
To reach and resonate specifically with adventure-seeking customers, the Ford Truck Marketing team is doing something they’ve never done before. The team partnered with Outside TV, the leading provider for the adventure sports and outdoor lifestyle category, to produce targeted television, social and in-cinema advertising for key cities known as top destination spots for adventure sports.
“We worked with Google and Outside TV to identify the top five cities where people are having adventures – Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Phoenix and Boston – and we created content with key influencer athletes in those markets doing the activities they love,” said Truck Communications Manager Patrick Leitch.
Outside TV captured stunning visual imagery showcasing 15 professional adventure athletes, three from each of the five cities, challenging themselves with heart-pounding activities. For example, one of the spots features a base jumper diving thousands of feet into a Denver canyon using the Ranger as a chase vehicle to capture the athlete and gear. Another shows snow surfers descending Seattle mountains at dizzying speeds without traditional bindings, using the Ranger to cross rough terrain to reach untouched powder. Click here to watch the videos.
“A lot of the content leans in to how these folks live, the activities they’re passionate about and the role Ranger plays in that lifestyle as the vehicle that gets them to their adventure,” said Leitch.
Ford is also partnering with The Weather Channel, Spotify and MapMyFitness to create meaningful connections with customers.
“We’re working with The Weather Channel to present weather-triggered billboards in our five key cities featuring adventure visuals and the Ranger,” said Leitch, adding that the billboards will be updated every 15 minutes based on current weather conditions like Sun, Overcast, Rain and Snow.
There will also be customized Ranger content on the Spotify and MapMyFitness apps.
“Spotify will curate playlists targeted towards adventurers and filled with music based upon Spotify’s algorithm while delivering Ranger-branded content,” said Leitch. “The MapMyFitness app will challenge active individuals to complete adventures and share them via social channels, all while communicating about the launch of the all-new Ranger.”
Marketing Ranger to Hispanics
Ford is being laser-focused about where the Ranger business opportunity resides among Hispanics, and that is squarely in Los Angeles.
“Twenty-two percent of all Hispanic midsize pickup truck sales occur in L.A., which is why we’re exclusively targeting that market with our Ranger Hispanic advertising campaign,” said Ford Multicultural Communications Manager David Rodriguez.
According to Rodriguez, the dedicated in-language campaign includes digital, social, television and radio components.
“The product is the hero, and we will be focused on creating an attitude for Ranger and backing it up with product capabilities,” he said.
So how will the Hispanic ads differ from those in the general market?
“Our television commercial, for example, was shot in downtown Los Angeles because that helps us resonate with people in the region, so it’ll have a little different look and feel from that standpoint,” said Rodriguez. “The other aspect of it is that we tried to make the people in the spot a little more front and center and allow some of their youthful attitude to be displayed.”
Rodriguez said reaching out to Hispanics with tailored content is important.
“The industry is so competitive right now,” he said. “If we want to make people in this growth audience customers for life we need to establish a relationship with them on their terms to show that we have a very deep understanding of them and empathy for them.”
Some of the creative assets used in the general market will be repurposed for the Hispanic market, said Rodriguez. Specific Hispanic content for Ranger was created by Zubi, the Ford Hispanic agency of record.