When I say car commercial, what images come to mind? As AdWeek also recently pointed out, car ads typically feature SUVs overcoming rough terrains or well-groomed Adonises racing through deserted highways or down winding mountain paths at top speeds to nowhere.
With the recent Super Bowl and Oscars, many new car ads have aired lately. Thankfully, not everyone stuck to the aforementioned generic motifs. For example, Hyundai cast the eye candy, Ryan Reynolds, as a part of the landscape outside the car rather than as the driver in “Ryansville.” Singing sheep star in Honda’s “A New Truck To Love.” And Cadillac’s "Don't You Dare" features young entrepreneurs who dared greatly and helped drive the world forward.
However, the spot that stood out most to me has been Ford Denmark’s "Familien." After watching the commercial, I, a 23-year-old recent college graduate, kind of almost wanted a Ford. Note Ford is no Audi or BMW. There are no hot leads, no uplifting music, no impressive displays or especially sleek interiors or exteriors against ridiculous backdrops that could possibly tap into my unconscious desire to live a lavish lifestyle. Quite to the contrary, “Familien” centers around a family broken by divorce, an issue often most messy and depressing and definitely not something I aspire to. And yet, I wanted to a Ford.
How? Let’s take a closer look into the ad itself.
The film is split into 3 parts. The scene opens with a father-daughter snowball fight. Mom comes home with the younger brother who refuses to get out of the car in a desperate attempt to sway his parent’s decision to separate. As the story progresses, the family continues to break down up until the last scene where they are notably reunited due to a completely unrelated event. Ford cars serve as the backdrop through many of the scenes as the quiet constant supporting the family in their most difficult times. The film is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful and tells a story that is both relatable and hopeful.
In a world that is slowly replacing genuine human interaction with Facebook likes and in a car world filled with cold aluminum bodies and meaningless trips to nowhere, I wanted a piece of that heartfelt emotion that director Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen aimed to portray.
Kragh-Jacobsen tells Adweek that people “see themselves in our story. They can relate, and it isn't a glossy picture of the perfect family driving the perfect car. Whether this will influence them to buy their new vehicle, I'm not sure. I guess it is creating some attention around Ford, since they are trying something new. The most important thing for me is that our story resonates and is remembered."
And lastly, the cherry on top for me was the basis for the concept: Ford's demography, mainly the Danish middle class, have the highest divorce rate in the world. How completely thoughtful and incredibly relevant! 'Ford. Supporting families against the odds.'
Dilys Zhu, MSD Intern