By: Brad Nevin | Ford Communications Network
NEW YORK -- Ford will air its first television commercials for the 2005 Ford GT during the Super Bowl XXXVIII pre-game show on February 1. A 30-second “teaser” ad and a 60-second commercial titled “The One” will position the 200 mph, 500 horsepower supercar as the “pace car for an entire company.”
The GT -- set to launch this summer -- is part of the biggest wave of new products in the history of Ford. Two years ago, Ford Motor Company announced that it would deliver 65 new Ford, Mercury and Lincoln products over the next five years. For Ford Division, the best-selling brand of cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. for the past 17 years, that figure includes the all-new 2004 F-150 pickup and Freestar minivan, four new 2005-model cars and the brand’s first crossover, the Freestyle.
“The Ford GT happens to be part of the most aggressive roll out of new products in Ford history,” said Steve Lyons, president of Ford Division. “It’s the ‘pace car for an entire company’ because it’s a showcase for Ford’s design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities.”
For the Super Bowl, Ford created a commercial that puts the GT in the only element where drivers can safely and legally explore the upper limits of the car’s awesome abilities: a racetrack.
As a professional driver navigates the hilly and winding, three-mile, 15-turn road racing course at Thunderhill Park in Willow, California, a voice asks the viewer six questions -- timed to the driver’s gear changes:
1. “In what gear do you…realize that a car is everything it is supposed to be?”
2. “In what gear do you know nothing can catch you?”
3. “In what gear do you know it is the one?”
4. “Introducing the Ford GT. This is the one.”
The ad ends with the tagline “The pace car for an entire company.”
“The Ford GT was built by people who love great cars, and Ford Motor Company is full of people who share the same passion but work on our high volume cars, SUVs and trucks,” said Rich Stoddart, Ford Division marketing communications manager. “That’s why it’s the company’s pace car, and that’s the spirit we think we have captured in ‘The One.’”
Filming for the commercial took place entirely on location at Thunderhill Park in January. Jeff Zwart, the director of "The One," said this was the first time that a helicopter could not keep up with a car during filming. He also said that unlike other sports car commercials, the film was not sped up to make the car look better.
“Our test driver topped speeds of 140 mph and never shifted higher than fourth gear,” Stoddart said. “There was absolutely no need to use editing tricks to make the GT appear faster on film.”
As Stoddart alludes to, the GT's performance is incredible. For its January 2004 cover story, “Judgment Day!” Car and Driver magazine test driver Larry Webster drove a Ford GT from 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds. Car and Driver also recorded a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds at 128 mph. In the same test, Ferrari’s $193,000 Challenge Stradale took four seconds to reach 60 mph and was 0.8 second and 13 mph slower through the quarter-mile.
"It wasn't even a contest," wrote Webster. "The Ford GT so completely dusted off its two highly recognized competitors (the Ferrari Stradale and Porsche 911 GT3) that if we wanted to make this a real challenge, we would have had to go way up the 'supercar' price ladder . . . The Ferrari and Porsche both require an upshift before 60 mph, but the Ford does not, which accounts for some of the huge sprint-time advantage."
Showcasing the GT's performance, "The One" will air once during the Super Bowl pre-game show on CBS shortly before kick off on February 1, and again during special events such as the Ford Championship at Doral, which will be broadcast on NBC in March, and the finals of American Idol, which will air in May on the Fox network. A companion print ad to “The One” will appear in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.