DUBAI, UAE – The Ford Expedition not only gets you and your family where you want to go – it does so in style and comfort. That message is at the heart of an integrated advertising campaign that earned Ford Middle East and its advertising partner, Team Detroit, a MENA (Middle East North Africa) Effie – its second in two years. (Effie Awards honor effective marketing communications in 42 countries and six regions.)
The awards are based on a business challenge and campaign results, the core idea behind the campaign and how that idea is brought to life. The idea behind the winning campaign was to position the Expedition as a better choice than its main competitor in the region, the GMC Yukon. The campaign emphasized the Expedition’s capabilities, comfort and convenience. Also highlighted was its size – that it’s big enough to accommodate large families and all of their stuff – especially when they’re traveling long distances. Families in the Middle East need big vehicles to accommodate all members of the household – 81 percent of the households in the region are composed of five or more people.
To develop a campaign that would resonate with the audience, the team first conducted in-depth interviews with owners of competitive vehicles. They learned that while many people knew of the Expedition, they didn’t know much about it. So Ford set out to give them the facts – to demonstrate the Expedition’s advantages in a way that built trust.
The campaigns targeted the “family shepherd,” well-educated Arab men who define success by their ability to provide stability and security for their family. “We knew he would be more apt to respond to a logical, well thought-out presentation of credentials than a campaign focused on lifestyle,” said Paul Anderson, marketing director, Ford Middle East.
To accomplish this, Ford called on Ziyad Dallalah, its chief engineer in the Middle East. “His presence was a critical differentiating element we leveraged to build trust,” said Anderson. “He knows the product, and he knows what GCC buyers want in a large SUV.”
Watch the ads: Comfort l Quiet l Driving Range
Eight television commercials and 20 web videos – in English and Arabic and all featuring Dallalah – were developed to get the message out.
Noting that he lives and works in the Middle East, Dallalah pointed out the Expedition’s ability to travel more than 1,000 kilometers on a single tank of gas as one of several reasons customers should purchase one.
Another important consideration is that the independent rear suspension delivers a refined on-road ride and that not only is its third row – with seats that fold flat at the push of a button – more spacious than the Yukon, Expedition also has better off-road capability.
The team had its work cut out for it: the Expedition’s average share of segment from 2008 through 2011 was 10 percent, while the GMC Yukon, with an average share of 35 percent, was considered unbeatable.
• purchase consideration of Expedition increased 22 percent while purchase intention increased 271 percent;
• perceptions of Expedition as trustworthy increased 44 percent;
• identification that Expedition was for “a person like me” increased 41 percent.
Ultimately, Expedition share increased more than 12 percentage points, and it became the large SUV share leader by the end of 2012.
The award-winning campaign aired in the Middle East from April to December 2012.
To keep Expedition top of mind, Ford Middle East launched a new Expedition campaign last November, “Everybody In,” which is still on the air. The intent is to reinforce the message – especially among competitive shoppers – that Ford makes the best large utility vehicle by focusing on key advantages/features.
It also is aimed at the “family shepherd.” The three television ads – “comfortable,” “empowered” and “connected” – depict families heading out on a trip and show how reaching the destination is much of the fun. As the Expedition moves through the desert, viewers learn how far it can travel on a single tank of gas and that SYNC keeps them connected while dual-headrest dvd players keep passengers amused.
The new ads are unique in that sound effects are all one hears – with no narration, the vehicle sells itself by “telling” its own story to viewers and bringing them along for the ride.