Ford South Africa launches new range with cross-media marketing campaign

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SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

GTB Africa, a Johannesburg-based creative agency, under the WPP Group, has been handling the Ford South Africa account for more than five years. The agency was recently tasked with developing an innovative campaign for the launch of the new Ford Figo, Ford Fiesta and Ford EcoSport.

With each car launch came a separate multi-channel campaign that included TV, radio and tapping into social media platforms in a fun and creative way that fully engaged viewers.

GTB Africa’s art director, Candice McLeroth comments: “The vision for the Ford brand is to keep it relevant. It is something we keep in mind when coming up with our campaigns, which is why we try and utilise different mediums in innovative ways.”

FORD FIGO

The campaign for the launch of the new Ford Figo includes a music video titled Ka Mzolo. The video was initially released via Instagram stories and is part of a collaborative campaign to give a platform to various up and coming innovators. The video showcases these young creative entrepreneurs, who use Instagram to build their personal and business brands.

“It was important for us to showcase and give a voice to very talented up and comers. And what better way to show off their talents than creating a piece of content that was made by up and comers for up and comers. After all, just because you don’t have a name today, doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow,” shares McLeroth.

The music video allowed viewers to interact with the featured personalities through their Instagram handles which were embedded in the section of the video that they featured in.

The talented group of individuals featured in the Ka Mzolo video included singer and songwriter Rhea Blek; founder and creative director of women’s wear brand BAM, Jacques Bam; crew leader of BMX Maniacs, Hloni Ramaila; make-up artist Orli Meiri; founder of dairy-free ice cream brand YOCOCO, Sinenhlanhla Ndlela; founder and creative director of ownURcrown, Nikiwe Dlova; creative director of PHINDA Furniture and Interior Design, Siyanda Mbele; photographer Obakeng Molepe; and the Bambanani Brass Band.

Following a successful launch on Instagram, the video was adapted for various mediums including YouTube, radio and digital billboards.

Arcade Content’s Zandi Tisani, directed the Ka Mzolo music video, she expands: “The brief was to identify a group of young and dynamic people in various fields and create a music video that would allow them and their craft to shine.”

“I wanted to create a fantastical world that was both authentic and otherworldly. The music video is a loose take on the Alice in Wonderland narrative and each step further down the ‘rabbit hole’, so to speak, involved interacting with our makers. I wanted it to feel like a dream, that is both familiar and strange, something we took even further with unusual grade and colouring,” she adds.

“I think this campaign will resonate because it features people who are not part of the line-up of usual suspects. I feel like that communicates that Ford is not just looking to leverage major influencer followings but is invested in helping creatives develop a following of their own. I think in general people love seeing the underdog win.”

FORD FIESTA

The Independent State of Nandi Twitter series – directed by Egg Films’ director Zwelethu Radebe – was produced to promote the all-new Ford Fiesta. The 4-week episodic campaign was released on Twitter every Monday and Thursday in June and July 2018.

The campaign was a social media marketing success, with its first episode gaining over 14 000 votes, 350 retweets and nearly 2000 likes.

GTB creative director, Neil Lindsay expands: “Launching the all-new Fiesta required something a little different that resonated with our very independent and vocal Fiesta audience. This resulted in us creating an engaging ‘choose your adventure’ style Twitter series – The Independent State of Nandi. The series consisted of eight Twittersodes that were released twice a week. Each episode ended on a cliff hanger, giving the audience 24 hours to vote on how the episode should end.”

In the series, Nandi (Lebo Borole) embarks on her first long-distance trip in her new Ford Fiesta. On her journey she encounters some difficulty and Twitter users get to help her out by voting for the outcome of the next Twittersode.

“This feels like the future of advertising,” said Egg Films’ executive producer, Colin Howard. “Where storytelling isn’t limited to 30-second TV commercials and the audience can be more involved more than ever before.”

FORD ECOSPORT

For the bold Ford EcoSport range, the creative team decided to cater to the urban adventurers with a television commercial titled Go Wander, Go Further – also directed by Radebe.

“The vision of the ad was to show that with the new EcoSport we can help our urban adventurers explore their cities, discovering new things along the way. Enter the Go Wander, Go Further TVC that follows three friends who got caught up wandering their city,” shares McLeroth.

To intrigue viewers, Ford decided to kick-start the launch of the Ford EcoSport with 6” and 10” videos that lived on YouTube bumper ads and pre-rolls. These were then promoted through Ford’s social media accounts. The end result was a 30’’ television commercial targeted at its EcoSport audiences.

However, following the TVC, Ford realised that there must be a more engaging way to utilise traditional platform viewers for greater engagement. Lindsay explains: “As we are an integrated agency, we believe in more than just creating a TVC. As most of us are on our phones while watching TV, we decided to capitalise on second screen users too. While the TVC played, you were fed a social post that unpacked more of the story in the TVC.”

This was done by producing a series of TV ads that tell viewers only half the story and entice them to explore the rest on their second screens.

Speaking about the Ford project, Lindsay concluded: “The launch campaigns for each of these cars have been very successful. Each campaign is completely integrated, with some mediums being up-weighted depending on the audience. Each of the channels in each campaign supported one another by delivering one campaign message from brand love, all the way down to dealerships. The one thing that remained consistent over all the campaigns is that with Ford you can Go Further.”

The Ford campaigns were conceptualised by GTB’s executive creative director Nick Liatos, creative directors Nico Botha and Neil Lindsay, copywriters Sophia Basckin and Leyash Pillay, and art directors Candice McLeroth and Martjie Louw.

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Gezzy S Sibisi
Gezzy S. Sibisi is a senior journalist at Screen Africa. She is experienced in print, broadcast and digital media. Her portfolio of work includes working as a lifestyle reporter as well as contributing business and education articles to The Times, Sowetan, and Daily Dispatch publications. As a freelancer, she has worked on content development for corporate newsletters, community newspapers, blogs and educational websites.

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