Ford is teaming up with Disney Media Networks to mark the return of its iconic Bronco SUV through a series of short films that will be broadcast across a number of cable and digital properties including ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and Hulu.
The strategy — prompted by COVID-19 shutdowns — is a departure for Ford, which has traditionally revealed new vehicles at auto shows or other in-person media events. More than three years ago, Ford announced it was bringing back the Bronco after years of customer requests and speculation. The mid-size SUV that ended its 30-year production run in 1996 was supposed to debut in June at the revamped North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ford was forced to come up with a new strategy after organizers cancelled the 2020 NAIAS due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bronco will be revealed in 3-minute films that will air during the first commercial break in the 8 p.m. EDT hour July 13 on ABC, ESPN and National Geographic. Ford will begin taking reservations for the Bronco as the films air. The automaker plans to share additional information about the upcoming Bronco models on its YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.
The short films will be available on-demand via Hulu the following day.
Ford is collaborating with Disney CreativeWorks to create the reveal stories. Jimmy Chin, director, cinematographer, photographer and professional climber best known for the Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo, was tapped for the project.
“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,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “As a new era for Bronco begins, we’re proud 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.”
The short films will be different for each channel. On ABC, the film will star country music singer Kip Moore and air during “CMA Best of Fest,” the Country Music Association’s three-hour concert experience. Professional climber Brooke Raboutou will be featured in a film that will air on ESPN during its SportsCenter show. Chin will highlight a new Bronco model during the “National Parks: Yosemite” episode on the National Geographic channel. Chin will judge a hashtag challenge contest and appear in an Instagram Story featuring the Bronco on NatGeo’s Instagram account, Ford said.