With ride sharing services on the rise and autonomous cars a not-so-distant reality, Ford has been preparing by shifting its marketing strategy. Over the past few years, the brand has presented itself as both an auto company and a mobility company under the tagline “Go Further,” investing more in new technologies and apps that promote ride sharing services, help drivers find and pay for parking, and get directions.
This week, Ford opened FordHub, an interactive installation that brings those innovations to life, and announced plans for a 90-second ad to air just before the Super Bowl kickoff that promotes its role in everyday transportation moments.
FordHub, a permanent installation at Westfield World Trade Center in New York, exhibits the company’s role in the future of travel.
The center includes a map that tracks real-time traffic information in New York, including trains and ferries. It also features games like Last Mile Challenge, where people can stand on wobble-boards and race through a virtual futuristic world on autonomous cars and ebikes, and Mustang over Manhattan, where visitors can use a VR headset to build a Mustang atop the Empire State Building.
“It’s going to be interesting to consumers because they haven’t necessarily thought about Ford in that way,” said Chantel Lenard, executive director of U.S. marketing at Ford. “To be able to experience that and see those things first hand challenges people to think differently about the future and how those pieces work together.”
Ford also is launching a contest, the Mobilize New York Challenge, where people can offer new ideas to help solve New York’s transportation challenges and help people get around easier and faster, with more than $30,000 in cash prizes.
Ford’s Super Bowl pre-game ad, airing right after the coin toss and before the kickoff, shows everyday moments where people get “stuck” in life: stuck on a ski lift, or on a non-working boat on the middle of a lake, or in a doggie door, or in traffic. The motto of the ad is “no one likes being stuck,” and shows how Ford’s self-driving vehicles and ride and bike sharing programs help people get around.
“We’re showing human experiences that people can relate to, and the desire we all have to be free and move freely through life,” Lenard said. “So many things are changing today in the world of transportation, and the Super Bowl audience is a great one to reach to talk about not just technologies that are in our vehicles today, but bike sharing and ride hailing, and moving toward autonomous vehicles in the future.”