The Ford Mach-E Versus Everything Ad Campaign

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A few days ago, Ford released a very interesting and fun campaign to advertise the Mach-E, its electric take on the Mustang. In it, the company pits the vehicle against a variety of non-automotive things, not just for fun, but to take advantage of search engine trends.

“Mustang has always been disruptive, and the all-new all-electric Mustang is no different,” said Suzy Deering, chief marketing officer, Ford Motor Company. “We needed a campaign that brought the spirit of Mustang to life in the most compelling, entertaining way possible. And Mustang Mach-E v. Everything does just that.”

In a series of five videos, Ford pits its vehicle against gravity, rocket science, a pit crew, lightning, and even the widely misunderstood science of DNA. It sounds silly, but each video does do a good job of making the comparison relevant to the car.

The real goal here was to take advantage of a rise in “versus” searches on the internet. Car buyers are trying to compare one car to another quite a bit, and that’s been especially true for electric vehicles. By giving potential buyers something truly strange that will come up in results for those searches, Ford hopes they’ll give the EV a good look. Presumably, pitting the vehicle up against things like lightning helps them learn about the car without thinking about the competition, which is another good marketing move.

Let’s take a look at the different videos!

Mach-E vs. Gravity

In this first video, Ford sets up a race between the car and a falling chandelier. The vehicle’s rear tire is on top of a rope, which goes through two pulleys, and holds the the crystals and lights. The chandelier is hanging over the top of the car’s path a few yards ahead. When the car takes off, the chandelier falls, and the car must pass under the chandelier before it hits the car.

The car’s rear wheel appears to be about as far from the crash-down point as the chandelier is high, so it’s truly a race against gravity for the vehicle to get out of the way in time.

This one was definitely not only fun, but informative for potential customers because they can see the vehicle’s acceleration ability from a stop. On top of that, at the end the vehicle slides up next to a faster version of the Mach-E, so that serves to show us that even a slower package can take off super hard, so the sportier version must be pretty damned quick.

The opera music was also a good touch for the smashing of a fancy chandelier.

Mach-E vs. Rocket Science

This one wasn’t as straightforward. The vehicle takes off as a small rocket launches, and blasts out from its smoke cloud, seemingly racing the rocket away from the starting point while the rocket goes up. The rocket gets to its peak altitude and stops, showing a large area of desert. Then, it shows a satellite-looking view with concentric rings around the point of the rocket and Mach-E’s launch. It appears to be somewhere around Barstow, California. The rings are 100-mile, 200-mile, and 300-mile ranges, and they cover just about the whole bottom end of the state, going into Arizona and Mexico fairly far.

This gives customers an idea of the vehicle’s range. It’s not perfect, because terrain and speed will be factors, but they do want to display the idea that you’d need to go for a rocket ride to see how far the car could possibly go. The vehicle didn’t really compete with the rocket the same way it competed against the chandelier, though.

I have to wonder whether using a female test driver was meant to send women a message and not just to serve as eye candy for the guys (and, of course, the girls who like girls). Women tend to be more afraid of range, so showing a woman driving in the middle of nowhere, confidently speeding on a dirt road, sends a message to the many women who might consider a Mach-E or be part of the buying decision in a family.

Mach-E vs. Pit Crew

This one is about Over The Air (OTA) updates.

They set up a pit crew to make changes to a race car that looks like a gas-powered Mustang (it’s the same kind of car that runs NASCAR, and has almost nothing in common with what you’d buy with a dealer, FYI), but the pit crew is on a trailer the race car pulls up onto, thus making it possible to update the race car’s capabilities on the go. It’s farfetched, but fun. The Mach-E goes around the turns faster than the race car on a trailer can, and stops for its OTA software update. The update completes about the same time as the race car on the pit-crew trailer does, and it then makes a J-turn to continue the race against the gas car.

The idea here is that the car can get new capabilities without needing to go into the dealer. Ford got to show this off to the public without being compared to Tesla, who has had this for years.

Mach-E vs. Lightning

This one’s about DC fast charging. They set up two charging stations: one powered normally with a Ford-branded DC fast charger, and another set up to charge from the output of a Tesla Coil, which produces artificial lightning. The car using normal DCFC picks up more miles of range than the car being charged by the lightning.

The disclaimers make it clear that the car wasn’t actually charged with lightning like a DeLorean stranded in 1955, but it appears that they simulated what you’d get from repeated lightning strikes and show that you put more power in at a DCFC station. Obviously, these were small negative strikes, and not a “bolt from the blue” positive strike.

Mach-E vs. DNA

This one is about the car’s ability to adjust to the habits of each driver. Many people think DNA decides everything about a person (especially conservatives arguing about transgender people), but don’t consider that even identical twins can be quite different from each other because a lot happens between conception and being an adult. A person’s nutrition, experiences, and many other things can result in people who aren’t copies of each other, despite having the same DNA.

They’re showing off the car’s ability to tell who the driver is, and adjust its preferences, positions, and even music to match the driver. I’m guessing this is based on key fobs, so the cars would know the difference between twins.

Not only are these internet commercials fun and a little informative, but they’re smart salesmanship. This is a smart way to advertise the car in a time when more potential buyers are using “versus” searches to learn about cars. By taking the car’s real competition away and replacing it with other things, the company can show off the car’s features and performance without having to let the competition live with them in the buyers’ heads.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

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