At the darkest hour of its storied existence, Ford Motor Company realized that they needed a sea-change in virtually every aspect of how they did business. Chairman Bill Ford asked newly appointed Ford Americas Division President Mark Fields to develop a plan to re-think and re-imagine everything about how they did business. The resulting plan, dubbed “The Way Forward,” restructured the company from top to bottom. The plan was so successful that it is now taught in business schools around the world.
- A small, but not insignificant part of The Way Forward, Fields empowered Ford’s marketing leadership to assemble a “Dream Team” of 12 diverse marketing services agencies from around the country, each of which had recently demonstrated a significant creative innovation in the field of consumer product marketing.
- R&J was chosen because of our work in helping to elevate the Samsung Camera brand from an also-ran to the #3 position in point-and-shoot cameras in just a 3-year span.
- Our assignment, and the assignment of the other 11 agencies commissioned for this effort, was to work both independently as well as collegially, interacting both in Dearborn and remotely across the country, to deliver “Blue Sky” ideas for how Ford could break through and achieve a distinctive, cutting-edge market position.
- As a result of R&J’s strategic thinking and expertise, the agency put forth an idea which turned into a multi-platform campaign, one which the brand is still synonymous with today – “Swap Your Ride”
- “The Way Forward” was a huge success, from an operational, manufacturing, marketing and sales standpoint.
- R&J’s “Swap Your Ride” was a cornerstone of the overall campaign which helped fuel creative and national advertising and publicity efforts, ultimately positioning Ford vehicles positively against competition from both Toyota and Nissan