For Ford’s new 2011 Explorer pitch, “Go. Do.,” Team Detroit reached beyond Motown to the West Coast for help in creative execution.
This is Ford’s biggest push behind Explorer in recent years. Breaking from the traditionally clubby ranks of the automotive business, Team Detroit has increasingly used industry outsiders to augment the creative process.
There are three 30-second spots, which were produced by Portland, Ore., independent Mutt Industries and shot by surf-movie director Chris Malloy, who created last year’s film, 180 Degrees South. Team Detroit, Ford’s agency of record, developed the strategic thinking behind the campaign and the “Go. Do.” positioning.
Shot against the backdrop of woods, sand and snow, the commercials’ imagery encourages youngish consumers to embrace Explorer’s active lifestyle. The national pitch, which will run for three months, uses soundtracks like “Go Do” by Icelandic musician Jonsi (Jon Bor Birgisson).
Mutt worked with Team Detroit creatives on the shoot and helped select the music used and the choice of Malloy. The campaign marked the advertising debut of the film director, who worked with director of photography Danny Moder, the husband of actress Julia Roberts.
The effort also includes print and digital components, which involve freelance input.
“It allows us to keep the thinking fresh. We have a lot of bright thinkers here at Dearborn and we also use people who are freelancers. They’re usually not used in such a complementary way; this is a much more organic, integrated way of working with them,” said Toby Barlow, Team Detroit’s chief creative officer. “A lot of time people are afraid to hire outside boutiques to assist them. We have the strength and confidence to do that.”
Mutt was founded in February 2009 by former Wieden + Kennedy execs Steve Luker, Mike McCommon and Scott Cromer. It has clients like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Coca-Cola’s Mello Yello. Mutt has also previously worked with Team Detroit on projects for brands like Fiesta.
“This is a sign of the bigger picture of how the industry is changing and the new trust in working relationships,” said McCommon. “Toby is bringing in talent from all over.”