Client POV: Ford General Motors

A successful brand is one that understands its consumer and creates advertisements that engage people and entice them to purchase the product or service the brand is selling. An effective advertisement should minimize a brand’s targeting assumptions and maximize its targeting assurances. Unfortunately, many ads today fail to successfully represent African Americans without including some stereotype or insensitive connotation. The best way for Amazon to create an effective ad geared toward the African American market is to understand the viewpoint from which the consumer is in and how their culture fits into it. Amazon must recognize the importance of context and must make sure the racial implications of the ad are sensitive and meaningful.

An ad campaign that was successful at reaching out to African Americans was Ford Motor Company’s “ALL IN” campaign in 2011. This campaign effectively reached the African American market through digital, print, and radio executions. The ultimate goal of this campaign was for Ford to demonstrate its leadership as it relates to quality, technology, the environment, and the community in a way that speaks to the African American consumer. According to Ford’s multicultural marketing manager, “We wanted to share Ford's turnaround story in a way where we could highlight the ALL IN approach that had to come into play as it relates to individuals from all areas of the business coming together to reach common goals. Through this campaign, we get the chance to tell some of those stories while also shining a spotlight on key African American executives inside Ford who helped to create the Ford of today”. The digital portion of the campaign includes CBS Sports announcer James Brown. These videos are one-on-one conversations with Brown as the moderator while five African American Ford executives share their personal stories and about the Ford company. Ford advertised a behind the scenes look at the company through the different people that make the company successful while specifically targeting African Americans. Ford’s strategy was simple, yet effective.

This campaign launched in a crucial time for Ford. During the middle of the motor crisis in the United States, like many other motor companies, Ford was struggling. Ford needed to do something that would turn their sales around and it needed to find a way to reach more people. Ford’s “ALL IN” strategy showcases Ford’s African American executives that no one really knows about and in doing so speaks directly to the African American consumer while informing them about the brand. Ford avoids any racist stereotypes in the campaign and while remaining unflashy, Ford clearly gets its point across.

Amazon should take not of Ford's strategy and look into how its brand can connect with the African American consumer in a way that is original, unique, and true to the brand.