Ford Motor Co. and the Walt Disney Co. have made a precedent-setting deal for a “roadblock” across all of Disney’s broadcast, cable, digital and streaming channels in prime time to unveil the new Bronco.
On July 13, starting at 8PM ET, Ford will introduce the new Bronco lineup across Disney platforms. Three custom, 3-minute films will air on ABC, ESPN and National Geographic, in each network’s first commercial break. All three pieces will be made available on demand on Hulu the next day.
Synergy is certainly nothing new for Disney, and the releases of last year’s Star Wars installment and Frozen II saw a high degree of co-ordination among Disney division. But this is the first time the “road block,” an invention used for decades by marketers, is being mobilized for a product reveal on Disney channels.
The spot airing on ABC will feature country music singer Kip Moore, while ESPN’s will center on professional climber Brooke Raboutou.
Jimmy Chin, who won an Oscar as co-director of National Geographic’s 2018 documentary Free Solo, and Disney’s in-house agency are working with Ford on the films.
The initiative comes at a time of intense challenge in the TV advertising business. Networks have been hit hard by COVID-19 and the resulting pullback by advertisers across much of the economy, with production shut down for months and live sports and events also in limbo. Networks typically have their upfront deals largely done as summer begins, but this year many variables still in play as media companies battle to salvage most of what is typically a $70 billion total ad market.
“At Disney, we take pride in creating culture and leveraging our unrivaled portfolio of brands to authentically and creatively tell stories during meaningful moments,” Disney ad sales chief Rita Ferro said in a press release. “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.”