Team Session: Creative Critique
  • Season 2
  • Episode 8

Today we’re getting our team involved, and we’re looking a campaign together that Ford recently ran for their truck lineup. In the advertising world, we’re continually looking at the work that’s all around us. How can we learn from what was created, how can we use similar ideas in the work we do, what’s working, what’s not? As we talk through this today, you’ll get an inside look into how we analyze a campaign. We’ll then talk about how we can bring some of these ideas to marketing food and beverage brands.


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Jessica & Randall Hughes
Viscul / Fork & Lens

The Viscul Team
Jay Basinger
Tyler Gladhill
Carolina Fudala
Meagan Blasdell

Quote from Tyler Gladhill
“Everybody knows what a truck can do, I mean it moves stuff, I think that Ford has that image and we know they are heavy in the construction industry but they really hit on just the everyday life- you can do this, and this, and this, and this, so they really just hit on almost every customer within their customer base, no matter what hobby they’re into.”


Ford: Tow it
Ford: Move it
Ford: Hard work


Jessica (00:00): So I have the team with us today, and we’re in for another creative critique. And today we’re checking out the Built Ford Proud series, and I’m going to let Jay cue this up for us because this was his to dig in, and we’ll go from there.

Welcome to the Fork and Lens podcast, brought to you by Viscul.

Jay (00:37): These jumped out at me because, first and foremost, the simplicity of the shots is what sort of drew me in. And then I started noticing a bunch of other sort of clever things they were doing. [inaudible 00:00:50] wise is that I feel like each one of them sort of had a main selling point they wanted to hit. But in doing so, they also covered many other aspects of the truck, which, again, I think it’s probably just sort of advertising 101. But they did it really well. So the question I want to throw out to the team is, what were some of the creative techniques being used that stuck out to you guys?

Megan (01:16): I think finding that unique perspective, the one from what the truck was hauling I think is awesome. That was really cool. Digging into the product and then kind of looking at all the ways around that product and how one would use it and then filming it from the perspective of how you would use it is pretty awesome. So I thought that that was a really great approach.

Randall (01:39): Yeah, they did a good job of pulling you in and out of the worlds very quickly with the sound and then matching all the shots the way that they did. And then, like you said, they showed off so many more aspects of the truck just by doing that and having little cutaways off to the side. But I think sound design, too, played a pretty big role into that, especially the first one that I saw. There was a lot of different sounds going on.

Jay (02:02): No, yeah. Just the one shot of the flag waving in the wind for a second, [inaudible 00:02:09] that’s what drew me into the entire series. And that was just literally a second shot, but it made so much sense to me of just something sticking out of your truck and is just flying in the wind. But that’s just real life.

Randall (02:22): Yeah. I think that’s what I loved about it, is that everything and it felt real. It was something that a truck would do. We’ve all seen the ads where they’re dropping 10 tons of stone in the bed of the truck and it’s getting destroyed, all this crazy stuff. But this was real life. These were things that somebody could take a brand new F-150 and go do these things. To me, it shows off the muscle, so to speak, of the truck and the power that it has. But then you get these other shots where you still see the elegance of the truck as well and the other things that it can do. And to Jay’s point, the shots were so simple and put together in a creative way, really set well to the music and how they hit and they speed it through a couple of shots and let one sit. And all those things draw you in through the series of images that you’re seeing and just opens up your world to what you could do with that truck.

Megan (03:19): Yeah. I feel like it was classic brand, a brand that understands their consumer because you could tell from the one where it was a continuous kind of shot but it went through all the different environments with the different people, loading something in the back and then walking into the front. It was so great because it was like they truly understand their customers and what they’re going to actually use this for. And we’re going to actually show you you can use this truck. It can be just as good, if not better, for whatever it is that you need to get, whatever job you need to get done.

Jessica (03:49): I think the cool thing, too, is that everything felt real and authentic and on top of that familiar. Whether you’ve experienced that particular situation or not in your life, it still felt familiar because it was so well done. And I think that goes back to I understand who the customer is, I understand their perspective, what their lifestyle is, and all those different factors have played into that.

Tyler (04:14): Yeah. I think it was interesting. Everybody knows what a truck can do. It moves stuff. I think that Ford has that image of we know that they’re heavy in the construction industry, whatever, but they really hit on just the everyday life. You can do this and this and this and this. So they really just hit on almost every customer base within their customer base. No matter what hobby they’re into, they were almost hit with that on.

Jessica (04:37): Well, and it’s interesting because the title of the campaign is Built Ford Proud, and usually it’s Built Ford Tough is what you hear in terms of advertising because the tagline that the company has. But there is that underlying theme of pride in that, which is very interesting.

Randall (04:54): Yeah. Especially in the first spot that we watched where they’re showing everything in the bed of the truck, I love that they didn’t start in the bed of the truck. You have this here’s the truck. Then we had this incredible camera move that takes you inside this camper. And then all of a sudden you’re consumed with all the things that it does. And I think if we would have come right into the ad and you were jumping from thing to thing, I just don’t think you would have gotten the whole appeal of the truck from the cabin, sitting, being in the truck itself to what you can kind of pull along with it and what the truck can do for you outside of that.

Carolina  (05:30): Yeah. Can we talk about that camera move? That, honestly, was what sold me. I’m not into trucks, so that definitely sold me. I was like, Oh, that’s so cool.

Randall (05:40): Yeah. Yeah. It’s always fun because you look at shots like that and as people in this industry, you wonder exactly how they did it. Did they go old school and they actually chopped a camper apart and actually ran the camera, or was it all at CGI? What’d they do? And at some point there was a transition move.

Jay (06:00): Yeah, and I also love how, again, the brief, there’s probably a list of just bullet points they had to hit. And yet, nowhere in any of those commercials did you feel like you’re being sold on these bullet points. The second one where they’re loading things in the back, they just keep swapping. They keep switching out the scenes, and the truck just changes colors every time. And that’s such a simple way of just showing it comes in five different colors instead of just at the end, having them all sort of parked next to each other with a sunset over a cliff. They’re just showing the different colors in different daylights. You know, it’s just like such simple little things but so smart.

Jessica (06:42): Okay. So you bring up a very interesting point, Jay, and that is there’s the agency side of us that’s always curious of what were the check boxes on the brief of this needs to accomplish this, this and this. So how, from our perspective, do we think that this campaign was actually pitched to the client? And why was this specific one chosen?

Jay (07:05): That’s a good question. Well, I think it sort of goes back to the Built Ford Proud. And I’m curious to know like what the genesis of that slight tweaking of their motto came from. But it feels like they’re trying to bring it back to the people and what they’re proud of in their life and how Ford can help them accomplish that maybe. And I think a lot of times when it comes to trucks, like Tyler was saying, a lot of it is about hauling things and getting things done. So it really does feel like they set out to say this campaign’s about the usage of the truck, not so much the bells and whistles or even the comfort or all that stuff, which I’m sure is there. But they were really interested in just how people can get things done with this truck and how that helps them in their life and I think essentially make them feel accomplished, I think.

Tyler (08:00): Yeah. I was just thinking that as you were saying that. It’s like, how do you feel? I think there’s the brand proud, like I drive a Ford and I’m proud of that, and then I think there’s, like you were just kind of stating there, it’s like, I’m able to get this stuff done and I’m proud of that. And I think they were trying to tap into, obviously, both sides of that. But to me it was more the human pride. In this day and age, I’m able to get a lot done and my truck is just helping me do that.

Jessica (08:25): It’s like they’re taking pride in their work.

Randall (08:28): Yeah. To Jay’s point earlier when they were showing, I think, in the second spot that we watched, and there were people. At one point, it was kind of a wider shot and you’d see the truck, and there’s people getting into the truck. And it was all one continuous shot, but what I loved about it is that that brought in the human element to me. If you’re just in the bed of the truck the whole time looking at what you’re carrying, you’re not thinking about the person that’s inside of the truck. And then all of a sudden, in the second spot, they have people. You see real people into the truck. Whoever you are, you can put yourself in the shoes of that person, whether it’s a woman who works on a farm or a guy who works in the city or whatever. It doesn’t matter. You can use the truck in some instance, and I think that was just a good way to pull that all together.

Jessica (09:13): I just wanted to go back to the agency perspective real quick because the way that I saw this spot or this series of spots was that it felt like the middle concept, they probably presented the super safe three cars [inaudible 00:09:28] trucks driving in a line type of thing. And then they probably did one that was super wild, really kind of cool and artsy. And then this one was probably right in the middle. That was like, oh, we can combine these two things, still feel creatively in control of the spot, but then also check all those bullet points that we talked about earlier. So I think that that’s goes to showing your client multiple options, or at least flexing your muscles a little bit and see what you can get away with because it works.

Jay (09:56): Yeah.

Randall (09:56): Yeah. I will say as nice as these are, there is that thing, like Megan was saying, they probably had that crazy version that you’ve never seen before because these are beautifully shot, and I think they tell the story really well. But there is that moment of like, okay, I’ve seen it before. And yet, it’s so well done that it doesn’t matter.

Jay (10:15): Yeah. So I don’t think anyone has really brought up the third one. And I threw that in intentionally because it sort of breaks from the formula a little bit.

Tyler (10:26): Yeah.

Jay (10:28): It also ties to it. So how do you think they are able to make them all work as a campaign, even though they’re all different? There’s similarities, but there’s differences. But what are some of the little nuances that they kept to make it feel like it’s part of a family? I love doing that. That’s my thing. I love taking three different things but then making them work together. But then they can also live on their own.

Jessica (10:57): Honestly, I think it goes back to the brief. I have a [inaudible 00:11:00] suspicion that the brief was we need to continue to show the value of what Ford stands for, but these are the three different topics that we want to hit home. The look and feel has to be consistent, and the message has to be somewhat consistent but tweaked for each of these pillars, if you will. And I don’t know if that’s something that Ford and their internal department kind of dictated during the pitch process or if that was something that the agency said, okay, in order to do this, it makes sense to run a series of three commercials, half dozen one way, six the other. But I think from a messaging standpoint it was very strategic, and I think it was well thought out.

Tyler (11:44): Yeah. It did have a different feel to it. The other, you had more of these jump cuts that put you in different scenarios. And this one, there were only two scenarios, and they had a different transition. It was a clever transition with the lights and stuff and it kind of brought you in. But to me it still had the same storytelling in a sense that like I was doing this and now I can take this same truck and transition to this thing. From being in the mud, now I’m in the city taking my wife, girlfriend on a date, whatever, and showing off how elegant the truck can be, so to speak. So I think it’s still doing the same storytelling, but you’re right. It definitely felt a little bit different. But I also think overall the look still stayed very similar.

Jessica (12:33):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Megan (12:34):

Yeah. I was going to say the theme is being versatile, and that was like the key bullet point or whatever that they wanted to hit on. And then they made three commercials that essentially hit on the versatility of the vehicle.

Tyler (12:49): And maybe the [inaudible 00:12:49] commercial was for a different platform than the storytelling one commercial just depending on what network they’re airing it on, et cetera. I can see the quick cuts, one being something you can play without sound somewhere if you had to and the story telling when you need a little bit more. But I thought they still fit together. I didn’t really think they didn’t until Jay kind of pointed that out, but he does make a good point that… Yeah. I’m not used to analyzing videos.

Randall (13:16): I noticed it right away, Tyler.

Jay (13:17): Yeah. It is true. On the most basic level, if you said, we want to just share the same truck doing different things, they all did that. And they all did it slightly different, but they all did. So it’s interesting how you can take an idea and then do it so many different ways. And sometimes you can go too far, but sometimes just slightly changing them, it stays within the same field, even if it looks a little different. It’s just looks like a really fun campaign to work on. It looks like they had a lot of freedom or at least a lot of different ways to play around with cameras, sound, music. But then the biggest one that no one’s brought up is the voiceover. That’s Bryan Cranston. And that in itself, I don’t necessarily know. Obviously, he’s a famous voice and his voice is great, but I thought just even having the same voiceover helps, the same sort of man or woman, whoever it is, talking the same way, same sort of vibe, same sort of sense of humor, same sort of beats. Obviously, it brings it together. It’s a simple way to bring a campaign together.

Tyler (14:34): Yeah.

Jessica (14:34): Yes.

Tyler (14:34): Yeah.

Randall (14:37): I was going to say that that voiceover was the one thing that unified it for me because the date night one did feel like the odd ball out. Even though it does go together, but his voice is very, he’s going for like a very classic Americana. I don’t know. It does unify it together, and it almost made me laugh, the third one, because, I don’t know, his voice is kind of funny. I know he’s a very serious actor. We love and respect him, but he’s also super funny. And yeah, it all connects, but yeah, they can definitely stand on their own. And that, to me, it was the main unifying factor because the editing styles of the first two are so similar and then this one was different. It was cool.

Tyler (15:19): Yeah. My two points, one with the voiceover. I think that’s interesting because we worked with clients before, and you see it all the time. There’s almost like a spokesperson for a brand, and no matter what it is, you hear that person talking and you’re like, Oh, that’s a Ford spot or whatever. And then you have the flip side where as many times we go to work on a commercial or something and you’re like, should we pull the similar person that we had before, and like, absolutely not, go something totally different. You have to wonder from a brand perspective when you can build some equity in having a voice like that.

But from the flip side, back to Megan’s one point about safety, I actually feel like the date night one feels like maybe the super safe version that they started with. And then they’re like, we need to think outside the box a little bit. And then they hit these other two because that one felt the most familiar to me as far as like, okay, I’ve seen that kind of transition before, maybe not that exact like camera movement, but the idea of taking something from day to night idea. And then it was like, okay, how can we show this in a bigger way?

Jessica (16:22): [crosstalk 00:16:23]. We just had a train wreck on Zoom.

Megan (16:30): Wait, I have a question. Has anyone seen a date night truck transition commercial before? Because this is the first time I’ve seen a commercial of a truck being presented as an elegant date night option.

Tyler (16:42): I wasn’t necessarily referring to a truck, but I’ve seen it with clothing, I’ve seen it with cars. You see be the business to date night thing.

Megan (16:51): Oh, okay. Yes.

Tyler (16:53): I swear I’ve seen 18 Mazda commercials like that.

Jay (16:58): I think technically it’s funny because you’re right. It does feel like the safer storyline, but yet, the way they transitioned seemed a lot harder than the other ones where it’s just cut, cut, cut, cut, cut. You know what I mean? Yeah. This one, it seamlessly changes from dusk and then dirt flies up and helps ease you in the nighttime. It’s really beautifully made, so it’s funny. It’s like they put a lot of their resources in that part of it and [crosstalk 00:17:26] simple, and then the other one, put a lot of effort in different things in different ways. It’s just funny how they pick and choose what they’re using for what.

Randall (17:38): Yeah, great.

Jessica (17:39): I wonder, too, if each of these are meant to market a different customer because if you look at them, one is about what you’re going to put in the back of the bed. One is what you’re going to haul and then the other one is like what you’re going to do inside the vehicle. And I feel like that’s definitely a younger age group, a middle age group and then an older age group. But that’s just how it feels to me.

Randall (18:01): Yeah. And that goes back to Tyler’s comment too about how it’s just like they can be on different platforms. You can hit those different age groups in so many way. That’s another beauty of marketing in today’s world, is not everything’s just going blasted on TV in front of whatever audience the show is. You can put things in so many different platforms, and it really allows for things to evolve and expand and yet still be part of the same campaign.

Tyler (18:25): Do you think the date night one was maybe slightly female targeted just to kind of show that your husband might use. I know more males that are going to buy a Ford truck, but there are plenty of females that drive it. But most of these campaigns I think are kind of hitting on the male side. I think they do have to also hit on the female side as well. I think the one commercial does have a female getting in the truck and hauling stuff.

Randall (18:49): Yeah. I think it’s kind of like when they sell toys, they don’t sell toys to parents. They sell them to the kids, and the kids convince their parents to buy the toys. It’s like prove it to the wife or girlfriend that it’s going to be a great thing to ride in or great vehicle to ride in, and then get your husband to buy one.

Jessica (19:05): Oh, no, I think I would even go a step further with that. It’s more along with the thought process of, if you let him buy this, he’ll take you on a date.

Megan (19:16): I was going to go way in a different direction with that because I feel like anything that involved the horse aspect was definitely geared towards women because I’m involved in that kind of world. I have a horse, and we do those things. And all of [crosstalk 00:19:30].

Tyler (19:29): You have a horse?

Randall (19:29): You have a horse?

Jessica (19:32): This is news.

Megan (19:33): Okay.

Jessica (19:37): That’s exciting.

Tyler (19:38): I knew you had a cat.

Megan (19:42): Sorry, I didn’t mean to drop that bomb in the middle of our soundbite card. Where was I? Yeah.

Randall (19:51): A horse.

Megan (19:52): Women drive trucks. That’s the point. Women also drive trucks.

Randall (19:56): Yes. No, I definitely noticed they were way more female inclusive than other trucks’ ads I’ve seen, which is nice. Culture shifting, you know what I mean? We do need to include women more because there are women who drive trucks. That’s a thing. Totally.

Tyler (20:10): Yeah.

Jay (20:14): Yeah. Absolutely.

Jessica (20:14): One of our clients does.

Megan (20:14): Yeah. That’s great.

Jessica (20:17): All right. So we’ve learned that Megan has a horse. So let’s get down to brass tactics here. With these commercials, how can someone in food and beverage industry take what we’ve discussed here and turn it into something that works for them?

Tyler (20:36): For me, the biggest takeaway is, or one big takeaway is always that you can present a similar storyline in three distinct, three to five, 10, 15 different distinct ways. So it’s not just shoot this thing and then that’s the campaign that’s done. You can continue to evolve a similar storyline and a similar concept and be able to hit different segments, different markets, different people, all different things. So I found that to be encouraging, but the overall editing style, I think, can really transfer over to food and beverage too. Every time we saw something in the bed of a truck, I thought that could be a blender, the next thing thrown into the blender and it’s hitting. It could be a Ninja commercial, whatever. So I think from that style, it can definitely evolve.

Megan (21:20): And I think opening up, when I looked at this, and this is definitely me wearing my producer hat, is I wonder how they shot all these things. And they probably did it in the most efficient way possible. So it’s kind of pushing towards the client what you really want to achieve because sometimes with just a little bit more budget, you can actually get so much more out of it. And in this example, like they probably were able to shoot these continuously or in the same kind of production span, though you can walk away with three really great spots instead of just one.

Jessica (21:52): Yeah. I would even go so far to say as I think this is proof because we’ve all seen car ads for our entire lives and they all pretty much look and sound the same, but I think you can take something and do something new and different and even within a campaign have kind of this broad spectrum of messaging and look and feel, but it’s on brand, but it’s not like the same old, same old, same old thing. There’s a new story. There’s new camera angles. There’s all those different things. Even with some of our own clients, I’ve seen the same thing over and over, over again. The table changed with the season or the order stays the same and it’s just a different dialogue. And I think giving consumers a different taste, a different message goes a long way but still gives you brand consistency.

Randall (22:50): I do want to go back to one point though on the last one, the date night board one. There was one part of that that bothered me that I just want to bring up as a point, is the self-parking thing that they decided to call out. They had this nice storytelling, and then they called out this 10-year-old technology that’s been around forever. It’s like, why? They didn’t need to do that to make the point. They could have maybe even shown it but not just call it out in the voiceover. And I only bring that up because I feel like we talk about features and benefits a lot. And sometimes cramming those into something, it feels like something that’s super necessary from the brand perspective, but from the actual consumer perspective, it’s almost like don’t cram it all in there. Just show them how you use it and then do a features and benefit video when they really want to learn about it and then go watch that. But I don’t know. It’s just something that came to my mind.

Jay (23:44): What’s especially big in food and beverages is showing people how to use things and how to, whether it’s a certain ingredient or a tool that you’re using. So I think, obviously, Ford here was saying, we’re showing people how to use this track. And I think just that idea of how to use something translates perfectly into food and beverage, just showing how you use tomato 10 ways is the same commercial pretty much, just showing it being cut differently, cooked differently, prepared differently. You know what I mean? I think you’re right in the same wheelhouse, and it’s just as entertaining looking.

Randall (24:19): I think a super versatile food product that people just don’t really know how to use that well could really benefit from a campaign like this. Somebody like Crescent rolls. I thought there was just pigs in a blanket. I was so wrong. You can do tons of other things. And I think something like that could work.

Jay (24:41): Oh, exactly. That’s a perfect example, [crosstalk 00:24:45].

Jessica (24:44): I love that.

Jay (24:48): And they have money for a Bryan Cranston type voice too.

Tyler (24:52): Yeah.

Randall (24:52): I think they got money for that.

Jay (24:54): Yeah, yeah.

Jessica (24:55): Too funny. All right. Well, thanks so much, everyone. Thank you for joining us, and we’ll be back with you next week. Take care.

Jessica (25:26): As always, every snack is better shared. Feel free to share Fork and Lens with your team colleagues and friends. If you enjoyed today’s message, please subscribe to get weekly access to new recipes for creative and marketing success. You can also check us out at or Until next time.