Sabrina Sanchez
Mar 23, 2023

Ford taps high-profile drivers for new campaign

Sydney Sweeney, Dee Bryant and Kai Lenny tell their passionate stories and connections to Ford.

Ford has partnered with actress Sydney Sweeney, professional stunt driver Dee Bryant and big wave surfer Kai Lenny for its latest iteration of the “Built Ford Proud” campaign, which returned on Wednesday for the first time in three years.

Created by Wieden + Kennedy NY and supported by Mindshare, VMLY&R, VaynerMedia and BBDO for media and creative, the campaign shifts attention from Ford cars to their drivers, highlighting their passions and explaining how Ford supports their goals.

In a series of spots, running on social media and CTV, Sweeney, Bryant and Lenny explain their connections to Ford, sharing additional content that walks viewers through their passions and involvement with the brand.

For instance, Sweeney is passionate about restoring vintage Ford vehicles, despite the fact that only 2.1% of mechanics are female, which she widely shares on her TikTok account Syd’s Garage. As part of the campaign, she will host an Auto 101 series on TikTok to demonstrate fundamental vehicle maintenance, along with debuting a female-forward workwear collection in partnership with Dickies.

Bryant, on the other hand, is one of only a few female African-American professional stunt drivers in the entertainment industry, where she constantly faces sexism and racism. She strives to pave the path for equality in the industry through her nonprofit, Association of Women Drivers. She has previously been a stunt driver in Ford commercials and has raced Mustang GTs.

She will demonstrate her skills in a social media series called “Stuff Only Dee Should Do,” where she will be driving the new 2024 Mustang.

Lenny pushes himself to succeed as a big wave surfer relying on a handful of F-Series trucks to help take him, his team and jet skis to locations all around Maui. He also pays it forward by teaching the next generation of athletes in his community.

For the campaign, he worked with Ford to create a line of surfboards with colors matching the trim levels of Ford’s Super Duty truck. Eight surfboards will be donated to Kai’s Maui-based charity, the Positively Kai Foundation.

The goal of the campaign is to “build relevance with future drivers today, to ensure Ford is top of mind for consideration tomorrow,” said Erica Martin, marketing communications manager at Ford.

“In 2018, Built Ford Proud was launched to help Ford get its confidence back and initially, we talked a lot about our credentials as an automaker and why people should believe in us,” she said in an email. “For this iteration, we wanted to turn the spotlight and attitude outward – towards the millions of drivers who get behind the wheel of a Ford vehicle every day. Who these drivers are and what they accomplish with our vehicles are a huge part of what makes this brand special.”

Ford began working on the project in the summer of 2022, originally starting with ten Ford drivers who had a wide range connections to the brand, Martin explained.

After evaluating them based on three pieces of criteria – “a genuine Ford Connection, an unexpected story and a display of strength that pushes against expected tropes, breaks boundaries, or makes change,” she said – the team landed on Bryant, Lenny and Sweeney as their top three.

Martin hopes people “see a bit of themselves” in the campaign and that their perceptions of what a Ford driver looks like shift.

“I hope they view Ford as a company that enables people to go out into the world and achieve their dreams,” she said.

Artemis Strategic Partners was the lead PR agency on the campaign. 

Campaign US

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