CHICAGO: Ford, the automaker, has successfully promoted its trucks through a partnership with the National Football League (NFL), which represents a good fit for the brand and can be activated in extremely diverse ways.

Chantel Lenard, Ford's Executive Director/Marketing – who will leave that post on June 1 – discussed this topic during a session at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2017 Brand Activation Conference.

More specifically, she referenced a marketing program, beginning in late 2016, that was based around a partnership with the NFL and championed the "all-new" Ford Super Duty truck. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: Ford Trucks builds powerful NFL promotional offensive.)

On an overarching level, this effort – part of a three-year deal establishing Ford trucks as the "official truck" of the NFL – effectively connected the toughness demonstrated by these vehicles and pro football's elite athletes alike.

One granular activation involved using statistical analysis to identify players on the field whose performance typically went unrecognised as teammates in more glamorous positions stole the spotlight.

This "Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week" program reflected the fact drivers of Ford's trucks are often the unsung heroes in their own communities, and generated 60 million digital visits each month.

Further strategic plays included celebrating breast-cancer survivors with the "Warriors in Pink" initiative, and a tailgate tour that covered nine cities.

A sweepstakes competition, offering tickets to different NFL games each week, also connected the NFL marketing effort with local dealerships.

Winners could move up a prize chain to secure Super Bowl tickets, with an ultimate grand prize of an all-new Super Duty truck painted in the team colors of the winner's choosing.

And the business impact was impressive. Of the people who signed up for the sweepstakes, 88% asked to receive more information about the vehicle. And 90% of the respondents were not Ford owners.

Moreover, this engagement translated into purchases, as Ford was able to directly attribute 2,000 incremental truck sales to the sweepstakes overall.

Data sourced from WARC