Car manufacturer Ford is pulling all ads marketing its vehicles in the US, and replacing them with spots that stress how the company is responding to the coronavirus.

Two new ads were hurriedly put together late last week after the company realised a radically altered message was needed amidst the coronavirus pandemic, AdAge reports.

One ad, “Built For Right Now”, underlines the company’s 100-year history and how it built tanks and planes during wartime to support America.

The second, “Built To Lend A Hand”, stresses the company’s philanthropy by describing how it offered payment relief to those customers hit by natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes in the past, and how it’s doing the same for those impacted by the coronavirus.

The ads feature old black and white stills and heavy text rolled out over images or a plain blue screen.

“Thursday morning of last week, it became clear we were at a tipping point where we expect typical messaging in the marketplace isn’t going to work the same way,” Matt VanDyke, director of US marketing for Ford, told AdAge.

“It’s important to be reassuring right now and not try to say to people 'Rush into your car dealership for a sales event.’”

During the coronavirus crisis, those customers who have taken out car loans with Ford Credit may be able to change payment dates or delay a payment, the company said in a press release. Ford Credit is also giving new buyers the chance to delay initial payments for 90 days.

Hyundai earlier launched a similar campaign that releases buyers of new cars from payments for up to six months if they lose their job. The campaign applies to customers who have leased or bought a vehicle between March 14 and April 30 this year.

The new Ford ads will temporarily replace those marketing the Ford Escape and Ford Explorer, but how long they will run for has not yet been decided.

VanDyke told AdAge, “We’ll obviously look at it day-to-day and week-to-week. We’ve got some [vehicle] launches going on right now. Depending on how long this remains front-and-centre in the news, we’ll look at deferring out some of that activity into the next month.”

Sourced from AdAge; additional content by WARC staff