Amidst the assault from electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, and with tech companies like Google and Apple dipping their feet in the transportation industry, veteran carmaker Ford is fighting back. In a recent ad campaign debuting the company’s new “Built Ford Proud” slogan, the company boldly took shots at Silicon Valley and new, tech-focused carmakers like Tesla, stating that ultimately, it is builders like Ford that would usher in the future of transportation.
Ford’s new ads, the most notable of which is titled “The Future is Built,” stars Hollywood A-lister Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. In the opening scene of the ad alone, it was evident that the legacy carmaker was taunting tech companies, with Cranston throwing an aside after walking into a stage, stating that “the future isn’t created in a keynote address.” In a particularly telling part of Ford’s advertisement, Cranston addressed viewers, noting that “Talk doesn’t get things done. Building does.”
And building is something that Ford has been doing for more than 100 years. Ford, through the Hollywood A-lister, proudly notes that the company would continue building, all the way into the future. The commercial even delves into Ford’s upcoming plans, including intelligent mobility and what appears to be a new hybrid or battery-powered Mustang. The ad ends with Cranston driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck — America’s best-selling vehicle — remarking “Let the other guys keep dreaming about the future. We’ll be the ones building it.”
Ford’s “The Future is Built” TV spot is one of several campaigns that the legacy carmaker is rolling out. Apart from television commercials, Ford is also going all out with print ads pushing its new slogan. Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co.’s president of global markets, noted in a statement to Automotive News that “The company’s got its swagger back.” The Ford executive further stated that “We think customers are ready to hear directly from a company that says, ‘Here’s what we’re about, this is what makes us different, and we hope you like it.’ ”
Ford’s newest advertisements continue the carmaker’s working partnership with Bryan Cranston, who initially starred in a Super Bowl commercial two years ago. According to Farley, the Breaking Bad actor “really captures that no-baloney, real honesty that frankly we don’t hear much of anymore.”
Over the past months, Ford’s place in the US auto market has progressively been challenged by upstart companies, particularly Tesla, whose Model 3 electric sedan has started to make an impact in the country’s passenger car sales. With Elon Musk stating that a pickup truck would be coming soon as well, a company like Ford, which relies heavily on its trucks, has to dig deep to keep its place in America’s car market. In September alone, the Model 3 became the United States’ top-selling car in terms of revenue.
What’s rather notable is that Tesla is able to accomplish this through word-of-mouth and the merits of the Model 3 alone. Unlike legacy carmakers, Tesla does not spend money on advertising and paid endorsements. The company does get shout-outs from notable celebrities from time to time, such as rapper Kanye West earlier this year, but they are mostly positive anecdotes from owners themselves. The Model 3 is just getting started in its saturation of the US auto market. Once the vehicle hits its target production rate of 10,000 units per week, and once Tesla releases the Model Y crossover SUV and the Tesla Truck, veteran carmakers like Ford might have to go a bit farther than clever, well-directed ads to compete with the Silicon Valley-bred company.
Watch Ford’s new “The Future is Built” TV spot in the video below.