“Unconvention” is the whole point of the new Ford Bronco, so let the company’s salesmen support the indignant product credentials of their new off-road vehicle with some of their innovations to match the inventive nature of the vehicle itself.
Like the Bronco podcast. Ford has launched an eight-episode podcast series called Bring back Bronco on the history of the iconic nameplate revisiting the highlights, including Bronco’s birth as one of the original SUVs, its infamy in the wake of OJ Simpson’s “chase” in his 1994 White Bronco, and Ford’s decision – strongly influenced by the Simpsons episode – discontinue production of the Bronco in 1996.
“We thought there was a serial-style story to tell about Bronco,” Mark Truby, head of communications at Ford, told me. “We thought we could appeal to people who love cars, those who love Bronco, and even people who may not be completely passionate about cars but who might be interested in how this little SUV has become the most collectible car. in vogue in America and, now, to become the most exciting thing to come out of Detroit in 20 years. “
Bronco’s excitement is genuine. A few weeks ago, Ford reported that it has already counted 170,000 hand lifters for reservations for the two- and four-door versions of the new vehicle for $ 100 (redeemable) each. It’s not exactly Tesla-level excitement, but it’s very good for a new offering from Detroit.
Because the product appears to be perfect. Imitating the franchised Jeep Wrangler, the new Bronco leads the way with its off-road capabilities, fishing and towing gear among the more than 200 Ford approved accessories available. There’s also a palpable jealousy at General Motors over how the company appears to have missed an opportunity to come out with a new version of its Chevrolet Blazer that matches the off-road chops of the Bronco and Wrangler.
Yet a lot of things had to come together to create a marketing environment that suggested a podcast. “The planets have aligned,” Truby said.
The first factor is what he didn’t mention: Ford v. Ferrari. The unlikely success of the auto racing movie, which harks back to the vintage days of sport in the 1960s, clearly demonstrated that an appetite for entertainment remains in America that heralds the vehicles, personalities and culture of the heyday. of the car.
A second factor pointed out by Truby: the cancellation of the 2020 North American International Auto Show. After the Detroit Auto Show’s traditional winter schedule was canceled for 2020 and the show was permanently moved to June, the proceedings this year it was canceled by Covid. Ford had been set to make a flashy introduction of Bronco during NAIAS.
“We were going to take over the Detroit Riverfront and turn it into an off-road park,” said Truby. After that was no longer possible, Ford opted for a broad introduction of Bronco in July using multiple Disney platforms across the entertainment giant’s broadcast, cable, digital and streaming properties. “We’ve reached Super Bowl-sized audiences and found that people will sit down if they care enough,” and are exposed to “creative storytelling,” Truby said. “It opened our eyes to new ways to reach the public.”
A third factor which led to the Bring back Bronco the podcast, explained Truby, was also generated by the pandemic. Michael Jordan’s documentary series on Netflix unveiled to a closed nation The Last Dance, it was a great success. “It was a complete rejection of the idea that people only have a 60 second attention span,” said Truby. “People will watch anything if they find it interesting enough. [The Last Dance] it was in a sense a kind of warts story, told in a journalistic way. So it was also an inspiration for us to know that Bronco has a 55 year history and many interesting moments, cultural cross currents and ups and downs. “
Fanaticism also played a role in a fourth reason why Ford decided to field a Bronco podcast. The nameplate, its origins and its surrounding legends have produced not only the excitement for a return of the vehicle from Ford, but also the pressure to celebrate the new Bronco. This large collection of Ford insiders and outsiders became known as the Bronco Underground.
“The people from our company and the agency met and we decided that for sure we would have the opportunity for a Bronco podcast because wherever I went if you worked for Ford, even seven or nine months ago, everything everyone did. was asking about Bronco, “Truby said.
The new Bronco added to the vehicle legend even before it was launched. Originally, its global debut was supposed to be on July 9th. But when Ford was reminded that Simpson’s birthday is July 9, the company pushed the debut to July 13.
“It was a fluke, just an oversight,” said Truby. “At first we thought, it’s not like the crime anniversary date or the [not guilty] verdict; it’s the boy’s birthday. Who cares? But people cared, so I’m glad we changed it. Bronco’s launch was a big moment for us, and it wasn’t colored by anything that some people would consider controversial. “