Ford’s campaign for 2011 Ford F-150 inspired by 2008 ‘rant’ ads

Article by Christian A., on November 8, 2010

Ford Motor Co.’s new advertising campaign for the re-engineered 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck has been launched. It features the “rant” style that was first seen in Ford’s 2008 ads for the F-150.

Ford said that while Nielsen IAG was conducting its research on the effectiveness of automotive advertising, it discovered that in the last couple of years, the F-150 brand has become more recognizable because of the rant ads.

Ford found that viewers now associate that style with the Ford brand. Eric Swanson, vice president of Nielsen Automotive, said that these viewers have described the ads to be “clever, unique and informative.”

He said that in television advertising, it is “critical to stand out from the crowd.” The advertisements single out the pickup's durability, fuel economy and capability. Ford offers four new engine options for the F-150: a 3.7-liter V-6, 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8.

The fourth – a 3.5-liter V-6, direct-inject, turbocharged EcoBoost engine – offers fuel economy gains of up to 20% compared with bigger engines of comparable power.

Now with four new powertrains capable of delivering unrivaled features in terms of performance, power, and even fuel economy, the 2011 Ford F-150 can indeed be considered as the 'truck of the future'. This was the statement released by Ford Truck Group Marketing manager Doug Scott.

Scott added that with a marketing campaign that seeks to meet the preferences of truck buyers, the company stays ahead of its competition. Nielsen IAG researched how effective automotive advertising campaigns were and the result was that for two years now, F-150 was now more recognizable due to "rant" ads.

The research further revealed a score of 72% for Ford against the 63% industry average. Nielsen Automotive vice-president Eric Swanson disclosed that since 2008, the regular use of rant campaigns enabled television viewers to associate these kinds of ads with Ford’s trucks.

Swanson added that the same viewers revealed that the ads were not only informative and unique but clever as well. Television advertising is in an environment that is cluttered and thus it is important to stand out from the rest and the ads for Ford’s trucks managed to achieve that, Swanson shared.

Press Release

2011 Ford F-150 Launch Builds on Success of Recognizable, No-Nonsense Advertising Campaign

  • The new ad campaign for the 2011 Ford F-150 launches Nov. 6 and builds on the success of the "rant" style campaign first introduced on F-150 in 2008
  • Ads focus on F-Series powertrain leadership with four new engines in the F-150 that offer class-leading power, performance and fuel economy
  • F-Series is the industry's first vehicle to top sales of 400,000 units for the year with nearly 435,000 trucks sold

The rant continues. And so does Ford's truck leadership. Since introducing the pull-no-punches advertising campaign two years ago, F-Series pickups have continued to lead the segment in capability, durability, fuel economy – and sales.

F-Series is the industry's first vehicle to top sales of 400,000 units for the year with 434,920 trucks sold.

Now comes the new F-150's television and print advertising campaign for the 2011 F-150 with an updated version of a highly successful style.

"The 2011 Ford F-150 is the 'truck of the future' with four new powertrains – each delivering an unmatched combination of power, performance and fuel economy – and we have a breakthrough marketing campaign that continues to resonate with truck buyers and separates us from the competition," said Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group Marketing manager.

In researching the effectiveness of automotive advertising campaigns, Nielsen IAG found that in the past two years the F-150 brand has become more recognizable as a result of the "rant" ads – 72 percent vs. the industry average of 63 percent.

"The consistent use of the rant campaign since 2008 has allowed television viewers to closely associate these ads with Ford brand trucks," said Eric Swanson, vice president, Nielsen Automotive. "These same viewers have told us they feel the ads are clever, unique and informative. In a television advertising environment that is full of clutter it's critical to stand out from the crowd. Ford's truck ads definitely do that."

The new 30-second television spots – which begin airing Nov. 6 – are an evolution of the tell-it-like-is style that Ford introduced with the 2009 F-150 and continued with 2011 Super Duty. The style since has been imitated by other companies.

An excerpt from one of the ads follows:

Hey, here's a little good news. If you want decent mileage in a pick-up, you don't have to order your engine off the kiddie menu anymore. Say hello to variable cam timing, direct injection and piston cooling jets. Yeah. The engineers at Ford have been busy. They've got four – count 'em four – all new truck engines for the 2011 F-150 to give you the most power, the most towing AND the best fuel economy. Now that's tasty. This is the future. This is the new F-150.

"It starts with great product that the advertising supports," said Eric Peterson, Ford advertising manager. "Ford continues to take the lead in innovation – bringing out new products and solutions – and we are evolving our campaign to ensure that message is received."

The ads focus on the "no compromise" theme: with the 2011 F-150 and its four new powertrain options, the customer doesn't have to choose between capability and fuel economy. Now, the customer can have both.

Print ads echoing the message in the television spots began running this week in high circulation publications such as Sports Illustrated, Road & Track, Field & Stream and Popular Mechanics.

Featured is the 2011 Ford F-150 with EcoBoost™, Ford's first truck application of its award-winning EcoBoost engine, specially tuned and calibrated for the F-150. It employs turbocharging and direct fuel injection to produce power seen in larger, naturally aspirated engines with the fuel economy seen in smaller engines. Current EcoBoost engines deliver fuel economy gains of up to 20 percent compared with larger engines with similar power.

In a separate, but related, EcoBoost truck marketing campaign, Ford is presenting a series of online documentaries called "Torture Test" to prove out the new truck engine.

The series begins with a randomly selected engine from the Cleveland Engine Plant going through a variety of extreme laboratory and on-road tests. Among the tests the EcoBoost-powered truck performs: hauling tons of timber in the Northwest, towing an 11,000 lb. trailer at top speeds at the Homestead-Miami Speedway and competing head-to-head with competitive trucks towing 9,000 lbs. on steep grades at Davis Dam, Nevada.

The "Torture Test" series ends with the engine being pulled from the F-150 and installed in an off-road racing truck to compete in the Baja 1000 on Nov. 18. The episodes can be viewed as they are completed at

Ford also continues another unique marketing approach it introduced with the launch of the 2010 Transit Connect: taking the vehicle directly to the customer. A fleet of F-150 EcoBoost trucks will begin a tour of 50 cities in mid-November and run through February. Consumers can sign-up for a drive when the tour comes to their city by registering at

Ford reaches out to truck customers via social media as well. The Ford Truck Facebook page has some 100,000 fans. Go to

In October, Ford truck sales totaled 49,041, up 24 percent over a year ago. Ford has the largest share of the light- and heavy-duty truck market in North America – 39 percent, which is up 3.5 percentage points over last year.

F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 33 straight years and the best-selling vehicle for 28 years. The new 2011 Ford F-150 goes on sale later this year.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 159,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln and Mercury, production of which has been announced by the company to be ending in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.

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