Ford steps up on branded entertainment

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MUMBAI: Ford Motor Company and Robert L. Johnson have inked an exclusive, multifaceted, multi-year marketing and promotional alliance with Our Stories Films, Johnson’s new film venture owned in partnership with veteran producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.

The first title under Our Stories Films – Who’s Your Caddy? starring actor/rapper Big Boi – debuts on 27 July, and features the Range Rover.

Our Stories Films was launched in 2006 to produce and distribute African American and urban family-themed comedies. The Ford-Our Stories Film partnership will involve all Ford Motor Company brands and allow for a powerful approach to reaching a coveted consumer segment – the African American and urban audience. The multi-year marketing and promotional alliance will include product placement and integration in feature films, sponsorships, consumer and dealer promotional opportunities, merchandising and other media options.

“Ford is very excited about this new multi-level partnership with Our Stories Films, says Alessandro Uzielli, senior advisor, Ford Motor Company, Global Brand Entertainment Group. “Engaging our consumers has for us been about creating new and innovative approaches to reaching our audience. This branded entertainment opportunity with Our Stories Films allows Ford to showcase the wide array of personalities of the Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, and essentially tell ‘our story’ to a targeted audience.”

“Our historic partnership with Ford represents a new day in the marketing of filmed entertainment to urban audiences,” says Robert L. Johnson, Chairman and CEO, The RLJ Companies. “We look forward to featuring Ford brands in our films, and activating Ford’s extensive marketing resources to reach urban movie goers throughout the country.”

Cars as Stars

Ford Motor Company has had a long history on the small screen and silver screen alike. In fact, Ford was the first automotive company to recognize the power of the filmed entertainment, placing its cars in films at the dawn of the motion picture industry. The famous Batmobile of the original Batman TV show is a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car. James Bond drove a Lincoln Continental convertible in Thunderball, and the fraternity brothers in Animal House used a Lincoln Continental as their signature ride. In recent years, Snoop Doggy Dogg, as Huggy Bear in the 2005 Starsky & Hutch movie, drives a 1976 Lincoln Continental, rapper-actor Ice Cube drove a Lincoln Navigator in the movies Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?; Cedric the Entertainer took his family on a cross-country misadventure in a Lincoln Navigator in the film Johnson Family Vacation, and of course there have been phenomenal placements in films like the Bond hit Casino Royale and the Academy Award film Crash.

Ford continues to be active in Hollywood’s most talked about productions with multiple vehicles appearing in international smash hit, Oceans 13, as well as perennially Emmy nominated televisions shows such as 24 and Entourage.

“The branded entertainment strategy at Ford has produced a robust series of hits for the Ford brands over the years” says Chuck Morrison, Executive Vice President, UniWorld Group, Ford’s African American Agency of Record for Ford Division, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar and Land Rover brands. “Understanding its importance, we saw the benefit in brokering this relationship with OSF and our approach will be to find the right films and opportunities to best showcase the Ford brands’ personalities by ‘casting’ vehicles that enhance the stories, and OSF provides the platform to achieve just that.”

UniWorld Group Inc. worked with Ford and Our Stories Films in negotiating this exclusivity deal. UniWorld Group will collaborate with Ford and Our Stories Films to place the vehicles and develop the Ford marketing strategy around each featured film.