Ford F-150

Integrated Marketing Campaign
Agency: Campos Creative Works

Image of Ford F-150 project by ckwrites


  • A summer-long marketing campaign touching a wide range of American venues.

  • Prospects, Ford pick-up aficionados, general press, dealers.

  • This proposal for an integrated marketing communications campaign was developed at the request of the Ford F-150 product team. This was a “brand-new” F-150 and they wanted a launch that would break all previous sales records while at the same time introduce the truck to new buyers. 

    Because pick-up truck owners are brand loyalists, we felt that new buyers would primarily come from the ranks of SUV buyers who needed the added utility of a bed. To appeal to these buyers we came up with the tag line “What’s In Your Bed?”.

  • I was the creative director for the pitch team and led the creative effort.

  • This was among the first integrated marketing communication campaigns to combine the Internet with local events. The agency, JWT was expected to handle all other media.

    The TIME “Machine Of The Year” theme was developed to demonstrate the impact of the campaign. By using the well-known format to frame our proposal then used sections to showcase each tactic independently.

    Principal program elements included:

    • A concept to influence the influencers using Ford’s NASCAR website.
    • A family appeal through dealer involvement with local Susan G Komen Foundation events.
    • A fully signed mobile convoy carrying the experience across the United States.
    • A series of concerts at state fairs including VIP events and video loops on the main stage sponsored by “your local Ford store”.
    • A PR tie-in to leverage the sponsorships and drive local dealer traffic.
    • An approach to program measurement.
    • Media value equivalents were integrated into the presentation.

    Our competitor for the business was the agency, JWT… This was new ground and new thinking and we gave them a hell of a run. When the dust settled they incorporated a few of our better ideas.


It has been more than twenty years since we first honored a Machine as the “Man of the Year.”

The first “Machine” was the PC, which began redefining our lives the day it appeared and has yet to stop. In 2003, the Ford F-150 has emerged as a symbol of the renaissance of the American spirit and the vitality of American business. It is a shiny, powerful machine that speaks volumes about our future, and what is great about America.

It is no secret that the past few years have been tough for Ford. A series of large and small disasters battered earnings and weakened relations with their powerful dealers. New competitors entered the market with more sophisticated products and began taking share. Investor confidence was at an all time low.

The F-150 turned out to be the ideal product to reinvent the brand; a near-perfect blend of a great vehicle and insightful marketing. The engineers demonstrated a sure sense of what customers wanted, while the marketers showed that they knew exactly how to communicate its benefits, systematically creating a buzz that criss-crossed America capturing both traditional buyers as well as new cross-over buyers critical to their future.

Tremendous care was taken not to alienate the current 24/7/365 owners. The team realized that the toughness these men valued was, in fact, fueled by the responsibility they felt as the go-to people in their community. People relied on them to deliver – and in turn they chose products they could count on – a theme that Ford built on to move its advertising away from corrals and construction sites into the mainstream.

By repositioning the F-150 as the “truck you can count on,” they found the key to enlisting the current owners to help them reach out to a new generation of buyers – Gen X’ers, couples, young families, Hispanics, and most of all, women. People who relied on these men and listened to what they had to say.

In many ways, the first-time F-150 customers we interviewed are much like the old. They are people who care, and care about each other. People who have the courage of their convictions and the will to see things through. 

They are active, involved purposeful people.

  •  They are not easy for marketers to influence.
  •  They decide things for themselves.
  •  They are picky about their friends.

Ford succeeded by going into the community with an honest, innovative grassroots program that let people discover for themselves just how well the new Ford F-150 fit their go-to lifestyles.

In the F-150, customers found a truck that will last a lifetime, in which they can have the time of their lives.

The groundswell the campaign created has redefined buzz marketing, and restored the luster to the blue oval. And earned this cover for the men and women who built and marketed the “Machine of the Year.” An achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that they did all this while once again making the F-150 the number one selling truck in America for an unprecedented twenty-six years in a row.