All hands definitely on the Edge

Ford, CanWest and partners plot extreme integration for CUV launch.

CanWest MediaWorks gave us a shout recently to say they were shooting a launch campaign that represents the epitome of the new mediaverse plan – integrated across all touchpoints and within the media environment, and inviting frequent interaction. In essence, the poster promo for the engagement plan age.

The launch in question is the new Ford Edge CUV which hits the streets in November. Edge marketing led off with brand advertising from Young and Rubicam, consisting of a movie trailer style ‘Coming this Fall’ teaser TV spot, featuring glam mysterious shots of the car while a v/o from Keifer Sutherland advised ‘patience, patience’. The product-attribute-free ad also made its way to cinema.

Now, in addition to launch brand ads, the Global promos tease viewers to an online contest. The contest spots also mimic content, but rather than the vehicle, they star a hero-type leading man, which Gaye McDonald, VP marketing ventures with CanWest MediaWorks and architect of the campaign, describes as the type of guy everyone admires, ‘top of his game, the solver,’ created to put the focus on the ‘hero’ buyer.

What’s novel here is that the three 60s replicate the background environment of three popular Global series, and the hope is that on Oct. 30, when viewers first see the spots’ leading man detecting away in a police HQ setting, they might momentarily think it was a scene from Prison Break. Ditto for his doctor turn in the spot airing Oct. 31 during House, or his high roller act destined for Las Vegas commercial breaks on Nov. 3.

In each promo the hero masterfully solves crime, saves lives and generally wins large, but is frustrated by one thing, ‘how to stay on the Edge.’ Each 60, plus an Oct. 23 teaser spot which utilizes all the characters, contains various clues ultimately intriguing viewers to check out the online contest to win an Edge, which is essentially a digital version of the old ‘keep your hand on the car’ game. There are also 30-second cutdown versions as well as the 45-second story/15-second drive-to-contest 60s.

The contest, developed by Y&R, encourages frequent participation, as only a certain number of virtual hands – icons – can be on the cyber CUV at once, so contestants get bumped off and alerted by e or sms to come back and have another go. And to complete the complex campaign loop, TV & print brand advertising will also tease to the contest.

The promo concept was pitched in response to Mediaedge.cia’s RFP for some new Edge campaign ideas, and not only does the chameleon hero approach fit with Ford’s aspirational rather than vehicle-feature driven strategy, it meshes with the auto giant’s push into entertainment. Peter Jansen, VP crossover & CUV communications manager with Ford Motor Company of Canada, says of the challenge to create Edge buzz, ‘it starts with three ‘i’s, imagination, innovation and integration; it’s about creating a connection with the consumer to have them buy into what the product stands for.’ Asked if this is their new going-forward communications strategy, Janson says, ‘Ford will do more when it’s right for the product.’ Apparently there are some categories, like trucks, where specs still matter.

Jansen says the crossover market is growing dramatically, and the Edge ‘represents Ford’s new face.’ The midrange (starts at $32,999) model will skew slightly younger for the category, so indexed well with the CanWest shows which also spanned the Edge’s target M/F 30s/40s demo. The spots will also air in similarly themed shows such as crime series Shark, Vanished, Kidnapped and Stand-Off. And in the Las Vegas series, there will also be virtual product integration. Deb Aldridge, Mediaedge.cia group planning director worked with CanWest on the program.

‘We wanted to integrate and engage,’ says Jansen, ‘and to breakthrough with entertainment. And it doesn’t stop here, we’ll take it to print as well with National Post and web activity on the Ford and CanWest site.’ The Post ads involve a unique gatefold launch ad followed by multiple vertical insertions and innovative edge-of-page executions. And all that, according to McDonald, ‘is environmental advertising at its finest.’

To see the teaser spot, check out