DEARBORN - Ford F-Series marks its 65th anniversary this year, and the brand is still stronger – and tougher – than ever.
More than 33 million F-Series trucks have been sold since the first one was introduced in 1948, and F-Series has been America-s best-selling pickup for the past 36 consecutive years.
Also as resilient for more than 36 years is the “Built Ford Tough” phrase that accompanies all advertising for Ford trucks.
“To a lot of people Built Ford Tough would appear to be a tagline, but it really is much more significant than that because it truly is the foundation of what F-Series trucks are all about,” said Ford Truck Marketing Manager Doug Scott. “Toughness – durability and reliability – is the essence of the brand.”
Scott says it’s that authenticity that has given Built Ford Tough its longevity.
“We have proof points that are supported by R.L. Polk data that shows we have more F-Series trucks on the road with 250,000 miles or more, and that’s a claim that we substantiate ever year,” said Scott.
The “We Own Work” campaign is another proof point, says Scott.
“The premise of We Own Work is when you look at the most severe-duty vocations – like metal mining, construction, forestry and agriculture – F-150 and Super Duty have a dominant share of the market in every case,” said Scott. “That’s a real testament because these are the people who more than anybody depend on their truck to get the job done and to be available to do the work day in and day out.”
What’s more, the quarterly Brand Equity and Awareness Tracking data (BEAT), which measures imagery and words associated with various brands, shows that Ford “owns tough,” says Scott. “’Tough’ is more aligned with the F-Series brand than any of the competing brands, and that’s very important to us because toughness is really important to the full-size pickup customer,” he said. “And we’re reinforcing it every time we talk about Built Ford Tough or have the Built Ford Tough shield crash down at the end of our commercials.”
Other truck makers have tried different slogans to promote their brands over the years. Chevrolet just launched a major advertising campaign for the 2014 Silverado. The ads – with a new anthem entitled “Strong” – are reminiscent of the “Like a Rock” campaign that ran in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“Taglines are more prone to wear out if they’re not closely associated to the essence of the brand, whether it is Chevy’s ‘Like a Rock’ or the Dodge Ram’s ‘Guts & Glory,’” said Scott. “It would never even cross our minds to change Built Ford Tough because it is so consistent with the meaning of our brand.”
Picture below: 'Built Ford Tough' in 1977, 1983, 1998 and 2001.