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  • George Clapp

Brand of the Week: Ford "For the Builders"

Heritage brands sometimes don’t feel the need to generate thought provoking campaigns, instead relying on their strong existing reputation and awareness to bring them continuity. It’s something that makes Ford’s most recent campaign stand out even more, and it’s why we’ve chosen it for this week’s Brand of the Week.

Ford has always been a brand that represents tradition, especially in the US. It supersedes contemporary cultural barriers which puts it in a great position to send unified messaging to a huge and diverse audience – something it does to a tee in their “For the Builders” campaign.

So what is the campaign?

The ad starts off with a very provocative and direct message – “Right now it can seem like the only people who matter are the loudest…” and continues as an ode to their 182,000 workers who, while not heard, represent the company by defining what we see on the roads. One particular highlight is the prolonged ending which incorporates signatures and names of some of those workers, which makes the ad feel human and authentic. On one hand the ad is a statement of pride and recognition of the workers, but there is also a more subtle statement here; one of moderation, collaboration, and connection, which has wide reaching implications on not just the US but around the world.

Here is a link to watch it yourself…

What values does this campaign enable?

Often, adverts look to divert from tradition, instead always looking to highlight the new and the different that can make them stand out – and for good reason – but this ad puts focus on building from the brand tradition. Ford has always been a brand centred around the human, both those it serves and those it employs, and this campaign acts as a statement that this focus has not changed – it’s the brand you know, but also the brand your parents and grandparents knew before you.

Beyond their continuity, within the ad Ford is also building upon its tradition of excellence and achievement…

There is a real tone of pride here. Not a pride of what the brand provides to its customers, but of the way that it works. It looks to show excellence through the work of its employees; their creativity, collaboration, and diligence, which feels especially timely given the growing impact that employee treatment has on cultural perspectives of brands. It also feels like a direct contrast from other large marques, for whom brand affiliation rides much more on the cars themselves.

But again, this is not a new development for Ford. This is simply a way for them to highlight a tradition of excellence in a contemporary, human way that goes beyond just the popularity of a car.

But on top of this introspection, Ford is also making a wider statement here. As the campaign says “Those that want to tear things down, and then fly away on their own personal spaceships when things get hard”. In other words, before we worry about escaping a situation (the most obvious being the environment) we need to work on what we have in front of us, including ourselves.

There’s clear social commentary here as well – rather than listening to the loudest voices, we should recognise and encourage those who do right for others, and value integrity over influence.

Although a simple idea, the execution of the campaign feels right on target for Ford’s values as a company, and its subtle but effective message makes it a genuinely thought provoking watch.

Have a great weekend everyone, and see you next week!


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