Ford is teaming up with Disney to help spread the word when it launches the new Bronco SUV later this month, renewing a partnership that dates back almost six decades.
Interest in the Bronco resurrection has been growing to fever pitch, the nameplate currently the number one vehicle search on Google, but Ford believes it can generate even more attention with the Disney deal which will see the Bronco launch spotlighted on the entertainment company’s many channels, including ABC, ESPN, Hulu and National Geographic.
“It’s a unique way of reaching out,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s head of sales, service and marketing, during an interview with ThDetroitBureau.com.
Ford is expected to launch two versions of the Bronco, including a smaller “Sport” model. Both are expected to feature a more retro design and emphasize their off-road capabilities, in contrast to today’s typical crossover-utility vehicles.
That will be a point the automaker hopes to emphasize through the Disney collaboration which will include a series of filmed “stories” by director Jimmy Chin. His Oscar-winning 2019 film, “Free Solo,” profiled rock climber Alex Honnold’s quest to climb El Capitan, one of the most challenging cliffs in Yosemite National Park.
The goal is to create the idea that the new Bronco can lead owners to similar adventures, said Ford Chief Operating Office Jim Farley. “Ford Bronco is an icon that has captured people’s imaginations and inspired them to explore the most remote corners of America and the world since the 1960s.”
Ford hopes to “tap the strengths of epic adventurers like Jimmy Chin and Disney storytellers to help bring Bronco to life and inspire millions of people to get out into the wild,” Farley added in a statement.
Each of the Disney properties will play a unique role in the promotional effort:
- ABC will feature an unusually long, 3-minute film starting country singer Kip Moore during the Country Music Awards on July 13;
- ESPN will air a different film that night featuring professional climber Brooke Raboutou during SportCenter;
- The National Geographic channel will run another Chin film, the director also judging a “hashtag challenge contest”;
- The day after the Bronco reveal, Hulu will begin streaming all three of the films.
“With Ford, we’re reimagining what a product reveal can look like by drawing upon our best-in-class sports, entertainment and streaming brands to bring the new Bronco family to life in a way that honors its heritage and gives viewers an unforgettable experience,” said Rita Ferro, president, Disney Advertising Sales.
Separately, Ford will host additional content, as well as the Bronco debut, starting at 8:00 PM on the 13th. The automaker also will begin taking advance reservations, at $100, for the Bronco at that time.
First launched in 1965, Bronco was one of the first sport-utility vehicles to target a mainstream audience. It went through a number of changes in the following years, among other things growing from a compact to full-size design by the time it was dropped from the line-up in 1996. At the time, Ford was taking hits for safety related concerns, though the Bronco had already received some unwanted publicity the year before when O.J. Simpson, the former football star then wanted for murder, led police on a low-speed chase down Los Angeles freeways.
The debut of the reborn Bronco was to have taken place on July 9, Ford rescheduling the big event when it was reminded that was O.D.’s birthday.
Ford has kept a tight leash on information about the reborn 2021 Bronco, though some images have leaked out in recent weeks. They confirm what Ford did hint earlier, that the new SUV will hew closely to the design of the Bronco R race vehicle it will be campaigning this coming year.
The automaker is renewing ties to Disney that date back to 1964, the entertainment giant back then teaming up with the automaker to create a special display at the New York World’s Fair to help Ford introduce the original Mustang pony car.