Even though we haven’t driven one yet, we have no doubt that Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E electric crossover is a great vehicle – Ford wouldn’t produce a piece of crap, especially one that bears the Mustang name. But as every regular Charged reader knows, the real question is, does the company plan to do the marketing necessary to drive volume sales? We won’t know the answer until after the new EV goes on sale in late 2020, but Ford seems serious about giving the new Mustang a strong start.
Taking a page from Tesla’s book, Ford is accepting online reservations, secured by $500 refundable deposits, and has launched a barrage of marketing.
“Our objective is really to have about a billion impressions starting Sunday and going into next week,” Matt VanDyke, Ford’s Director of US Marketing, told AdAge. “Everything we’ve learned is [that] for vehicles that go out there and take reservations, it all happens up-front. This isn’t something with a slow burn. Our success is going to be determined based on how we get out of the gate, capturing people’s imagination and attention and drawing interest.”
Celebrity endorser Idris Elba appeared at the launch party, and stars in a series of TV ads. Short 15-second teaser spots have been running, and longer spots are scheduled to air during the Thanksgiving Day football orgy. Ford also plans substantial digital media campaigns on Twitter, Youtube and CNN, and has signed up a dozen social media influencers to plug the vehicle to the young and hip (Ford refers to this coveted demographic as “lovers of the new,” or “LOTN”).
Karl Brauer, Executive Publisher of Kelley Blue Book, seems to be of two minds about Ford’s plans for the Mach-E. “This is a huge play by Ford to get serious about EVs,” he told AdAge, but hedged that statement by calling the vehicle “a corporate branding play” designed to present Ford as “a forward-thinking, progressive company.”
Brauer doesn’t see the Mach-E, or any other EV, as an overnight killer app. There “is not going to be a single model that comes out in one fell swoop and turns the world into an EV-buying world. It’s going to be a long process of knocking down barriers and knocking down resistance from various demographics one by one.”