Ford’s New Campaign Focuses on How It’s Fighting the Pandemic

Automaker used its assembly lines to roll out reusable surgical gowns and face shields

A man wearing a face shield
Ford features its factory employees—face masks and all—in its new campaign. Ford
Headshot of Ryan Barwick

Although there’s present tension in America’s auto manufacturing industry, most companies have started to schedule workers to return to its factories. Ford is reopening in phases—it’s scheduled to open its doors on Monday—and has launched a network television campaign to remind everyone what it’s been doing since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Created by Wieden + Kennedy and narrated by Bryan Cranston, the two spots, titled “Built for America,” emphasize the automaker’s role in combating the crisis, which includes the production of nearly 100,000 ventilators since April.

“At a moment’s notice, we can take American ingenuity and our manufacturing capability and put it to work,” Cranston says over shots of respirators, face shields and ventilators, lingering on the masked faces of Ford’s plant employees.

The company said in a statement that it made 400,000 reusable surgical gowns made from the same materials as airbags and shipped more than 14 million face shields to all 50 states.

“The auto industry is the backbone of America’s economy, and we’re proud of our workers’ resolve and dedication to quickly pivot and produce life-saving personal protection equipment during the coronavirus, making a real difference when the country needed us,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s Americas and International Markets department, in a statement.

The second spot features the daily grind of frontline workers such as firemen, healthcare professionals and construction workers not combating Covid-19 explicitly, but illustrating the everyday difficulties of their professions.

“There’s always some new challenge trying to take us out, to shake our resolve,” Cranston said. “If you’re out there fighting through it, we know 260,000 people who have your back.”

The ads are being released at a time when the auto industry has seen its spending on television advertising fall between 55% and 70% over the course of the Covid-19 outbreak. The ads that have run spotlight discounts and services like home delivery.

Ford is expected to report a $5 billion loss in the second quarter, but the automaker told investors that it doesn’t expect things to get worse than that.

The company told Adweek that the spot will appear across all network primetime shows, morning and evening news programs, and Sunday’s Nascar race at Darlington Raceway.

@RyanBarwick Ryan is a brand reporter covering travel, mobility and sports marketing.