Did You Catch That New Ford Campaign During Urban One Honors? It Was Produced Completely By Black Women

January 21, 2020  |  

In 1978, Maya Angelou gave Black women the language to own and recognize their exceptional nature when she published the poem “Phenomenal Woman.” So it makes sense that when Ford began shaping its “Built Phenomenally” campaign spotlighting the 2020 Escape, the brand looked to Black women to do what we do best: create and innovate.

The new campaign series, voiced by Angela Bassett, made its debut during the airing of Urban One Honors on TV One tonight. The award show is a celebration of 40 years in radio, marking Cathy Hughes’ creation of Radio One in 1980, making a campaign such as this that also recognizes the contributions of Black women especially fitting. And while a great deal of effort was put in to making this campaign diverse and authentic from the ground up, Ford is showing the world that it can be done.

Working with agency partner UWG, which is the longest-standing multicultural marketing agency in the U.S., Ford, a founding partner of FREE THE WORK, a nonprofit initiative advocating for companies to provide more opportunities for underrepresented creators, conducted a fair and open bidding process to find the best production talent for the series. That search led to hiring Kanyessa McMahon as director; Marci Rodgers as stylist; Lola Okanlawon, makeup artist; and N’Jeri Nicholson as copywriter alongside Ford’s own executives, Raj Regsiter and Dibrie Guerrero, all of whom you can see in the campaign. Ford was also guided by insights from the Association of National Advertisers’ #SeeHer movement, of which the motor company is a board member, to ensure the campaign accurately portrayed women and girls. Even the music for the spot — “Bawdy” by Dillion Francis & TV Noise, with Big Freedia, the reigning bounce queen of New Orleans — speaks to the versatility of Black women and celebrates our confidence.

It’s clear with this campaign that Ford is sending a message. Not only does the brand take care of Black women’s transportation needs, like with the new Escape, Ford also understands the need for Black women to be empowered professionally and provided opportunities to not just have seat at the table, but the head seat. With Black women in so many industries begging for companies to see their worth, and so many businesses being afraid of alienating the general market by spotlighting minorities of any kind, Ford is making sure there’s no confusion about the fact that they value Black women and they aren’t scared to show it.

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