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Ford marked new territory on TikTok – and the result: brilliant storytelling

Read the latest news about Ford Automotive on TikTok

Ford on TikTok

In the automotive playbook, the way into the hearts of a new generation of consumers lies through their smartphones. The latest brand to leverage this universal truth of our digital age is Ford, which recently strode confidently onto TikTok to unleash its new Territory SUV.

The digital campaign for Territory – with its dedicated MENA focus and attempt to tap into its chosen creators’ authentic personas and their signature methods of connecting with the community – indeed marked new ground for Ford. The resulting campaign is definitely a highlight moment for the automotive major this year.

Given the makeup of the vehicle itself, it made sense for Ford to adopt a non-traditional means of bringing it to everyone’s attention. Dubbed a “capable crossover”, the Ford SUV DNA shines through every aspect of the Territory’s design and has been rigorously heat-tested through two summer cycles over an 18-month period, for Middle East-readiness. Featuring one of the most powerful engines in its segment, an 1.8-litre EcoBoost, and 7-speed automatic transmission, it sports an urban-ready aesthetic that also looks great against the desert sands and on the jebels. Besides that, it displays a definite focus on space and smart technology inside – all important features for this region’s market.

While seeking to engage with a younger, tech-savvy audience who want vehicles that match their personalities, the idea was also to show that the Territory could fit into anyone’s lifestyle. Ford managed to do just that on TikTok by producing 15 creatives, as the #OwnYourTerritory videos seem to have spoken to a pretty diverse audience. But here we need to rewind a bit to check out how Ford designed and implemented its strategy on the platform.

Collaborating with WPP, TikTok, and Ford Middle East devised an innovative “Relevance Framework” that answered three pivotal questions through its videos: What is being said? Who is saying it? Where is it being said? By following this, the creators that worked with Ford leveraged TikTok’s storytelling principles of Attraction, Anticipation and Action, rolled out in that order. They focused on captivating the attention of the communities they engaged with via a compelling message in the first 2 to 6 seconds. The story continues with the aid of the human element and upbeat music, and ends with a clear call-to-action in the final seconds by showcasing brand visuals, like in Amir De Leon’s zingy, creative take. Some of the videos also capitalized on the narrative concept of “breaking the fourth wall” by addressing the viewers directly, looking them straight in the eye and taking them through the vehicle’s useful features.

This was an undeniable opportunity for the automotive brand on the platform, one that went way above promoting itself: the chance to humanize its latest offering. Digital platform users seek out creators for their authenticity and relatability, above all, and Ford sought to present the Territory through these lenses. It became the perfect vehicle to “work, live and play” through creators “UAE Supersport” Ali Al Hamoudi and Sarahh Miladd’s walk-throughs of the SUV.

Tapping into the Middle East’s family-oriented nature, creators Yara Aziz and the Hennaoui family effectively showcased the Territory’s features (child-friendly, storage space, interiors, comfort, connectivity, wireless charging etc) through endearing depictions such as ‘young couple with baby’ and ‘humorous father-daughter banter’. This digital strategy helped build an emotional connection with the creators’ respective audiences and helped peg the Ford Territory as the ideal new addition to their family.

Brands like Ford have thus proven engagement and agility in the digital age, connecting with their target consumers directly instead of the traditional paid advertising route. Over and above that, the campaign positioned Ford as a culturally relevant brand that is worth the investment. For Ford, this translated into remarkable numbers: a staggering 2.4 times the Click-Through Rate (CTR) by auto industry benchmarks, 3 times the Video Completion Rate (VTR), and an impressive 3x & 2.8x Ad Recall uplift in KSA and UAE respectively compared to Ad Recall uplift norms in these markets.

Kiko Roest, Marketing Communication Manager, Ford ME, said, “It was definitely interesting to see how such an ‘entertaining & fun’ platform can impact the brand and generate tactical results that supported our main awareness objective and contributed to Ford’s full funnel objectives.”

“Go big, bold, and break new ground” was Ford’s marketing direction for its Territory campaign, and through TikTok, it was able to cast its net wide, extend its reach widely and carry the conversation into the regional culture. By putting creators in the driver’s seat, the company made a seamless and unforgettable connection with their audience.

For Ford Automotive, making the pivot to entertainment transformed the way they engaged with their end customers and drove results through an unforgettable, impactful campaign.

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