DEARBORN - The Ford Truck team maintains a close, personal connection with customers by engaging with them in a meaningful way in the key areas where they work and play. According to Ford Truck Experiential Marketing Manager Kevin Schebil, success stems from having a thorough understanding of full-size pickup truck customers.
“We’re looking at a targeted audience of men age 25 to 54,” he said. “They are do-it-yourselfers who have a passion for music, sports and a western lifestyle.”
When it comes to music, research shows that a large majority of pickup truck buyers love country, and there is no bigger star on the country music scene than Toby Keith. Ford F-Series has been the title sponsor of Keith’s concert tours for the past decade, including this year’s Toby Keith Live in Overdrive.
The relationship between Ford Trucks and Keith goes well beyond a typical sponsorship. Ford is integrated into the concert and behind the scenes in a number of fun ways.
Ford produces an opening video for the show that features Keith driving a Ford truck. This year’s theme is based on the title of Keith’s latest hit album Clancy’s Tavern.
“His grandmother actually had a tavern in Arkansas that inspired the theme for the video,” explained Schebil. “So we sent him out in the middle of nowhere trying to find Clancy’s Tavern and it ends up being this rundown old place in need of a lot of work. Midway through there’s a big old-style jukebox. Keith discovers it and is in for a big surprise. The video is very compelling and it gets people to engage with Toby and Ford trucks in a fun way.”
Ford trucks are also incorporated into the videos that run on stage while Keith is singing, and this year the truck team adds a unique element to the alliance with Keith called the Live in Overdrive Insiders.
“We have two guys who will serve as our behind-the-scenes insiders. They are talented filmmakers who will have full access to all the things that consumers can’t see – Toby on his bus, before he comes on stage, etc. All that content is delivered through our website at tobykeith.com\ford and we’ll be driving people to that site through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter,” explained Schebil.
The Live in Overdrive Insiders will also be out in the parking lot with people before the concert, engaging them with Ford trucks through games and capturing video content.”
As in previous years, Ford is also jointly involved in a sweepstakes with Keith that will award one grand prize winner a new 2013 F-150 with EcoBoost and a weekend on the road with the singer, complete with backstage access.
“By being involved with Toby Keith for such a long time, we have the ability to continually drive the Built Ford Tough message. We’ve also had the ability to develop a partnership with Toby,” he said. “We trust him. He trusts us, and the relationship benefits both of us.”
Sports like football and racing rank high among full-size pickup truck buyers. Ford sponsors both NFL and college football and has a huge presence at NASCAR. This year, the new 2013 Ford F-150 FX4 served as the pace car for the Sprint Cup Race. And Ford uses the track as a venue to promote the F-Series lineup.
Professional Bull Riding (PBR) also indexes highly as one of the top sports of choice among full-size pickup truck customers. Ford has been title sponsor of PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series for more than a decade.
“In fact, 50% of event attendees own a full-size pickup, and F-Series owners are 49% more likely to engage in the sport than the general public,” said Schebil.
In addition to having a strong presence at PBR events, Ford Trucks upped the ante through the creation of Team Invasion – PBR personalities who travel from event to event driving Ford trucks to “invade” the PBR Built Ford Tough Series and provide fans with behind-the-scenes access. And Ford is jointly involved in a sweepstakes that will award three winners a trip of a lifetime for two to the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas. One will be chosen as the grand prize winner and go home with a 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor.
Ford Trucks also reaches out to America’s hard-working farm families and agricultural professionals through its relationship with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization, which goes all the way back to 1948 – the same year F-Series pickups first went on sale. Since 1997, Ford has provided $7.1 million in Built Ford Tough scholarships to tomorrow’s agri-science leaders.
“Farm families have always been an important consumer group for Ford trucks,” said Schebil. “Our involvement with FFA provides us with a great way to reach the next generation of truck buyers.”
And yet another aspect of the western lifestyle is hunting and fishing. Research shows that 85 percent of pickup truck buyers engage in the hunting and fishing lifestyle.
One of the newest ways that Ford Trucks connects with those consumers is through a relationship with Orion Multimedia, a production company that delivers hunting and fishing content for television. Ford sponsors one fishing and five hunting programs, such as Ford’s Fishing Frontiers which airs on the Outdoor Network and Bucks of Tecomate which airs on the NBC Sports Network. In addition to sponsorship, Ford trucks are integrated into each show.
“Hosts of the shows have Ford trucks which are used as tools during their hunting or fishing experience,” said Schebil. “Through original airs and reruns, those six programs deliver close to 300 million impressions – that’s how many times consumers see the Ford brand, whether it’s the logo on the front of the truck or just seeing the truck as part of the program.”