The Ford F-150 Raptor R is a 700-horsepower off-road performance truck.
To advertise a truck like that, most brands stick to a pretty tried-and-true formula: Show it driving around the desert or whatever. Pair with some rock music. And call it a day.
We opted for something a bit different.
Raptor R is so fast, it’s scary. So we promoted the vehicle like we were promoting a horror film, titled SCARY FAST. The core of the campaign was a long-form video directed by up-and-coming horror filmmaker Lauren Sick. Taking inspiration from ’70s grindhouse movies, the film is unsettling, gritty and sinister. Every choice, from the sound design to the title cards, was crafted to convey the wonderful, terrifying feeling of driving a Raptor R.
The uncaring masses
Our opportunity was to get people who neither know nor care about off-road performance trucks to know and care about the Raptor R. Even though we were after non-gearheads, there were still certain creative rules we had to follow. One, the Raptor exists to “own the desert.” It’s an off-road performance truck, and the desert is the most extreme environment to show off its capabilities. Two, the only thing making the Raptor R new was the V8 engine with its 700 horsepower. Both stories still had to be central to our idea.
More than a thrill
We asked ourselves: For the average person, what would it feel like to be behind the wheel of a Raptor R? In the answer to that question we found a strategic spark – a universal, desirable feeling that anyone would find interesting. Driving a Raptor R would be pretty damn intense. Exhilarating. Thrilling. But these are all emotional tropes we’ve heard time and time again from auto brands when they attempt to convey the feeling of driving their vehicles. We decided to push past these tropes and take a leap to an emotion that doesn’t often get celebrated as a good thing – fear.
A human truth – there’s a side of us that wants to be scared shitless every once in a while
People say fear is a thing to be avoided. Yet, we willingly jump from high places, pack into theaters to scream in front of strangers, and ride roller coasters. Fear makes you feel alive. That is the feeling of driving the Raptor R. But you can’t tell people how to feel. So it wouldn’t be enough for our idea to try and explain to anyone how fearful or afraid they’d be driving a Raptor R. No, we’d need our idea to actually make people feel those emotions. To feel genuinely frightened and to love every hair-raising moment of it.
A “R-rated” idea
Our idea – SCARY FAST – treated the reveal of the Raptor R like it was a grindhouse horror film. To get buzz going, we teased the reveal with eerie stills and short clips of our reveal film on both Instagram and YouTube. We placed OOH poster installations in key markets to drive up further intrigue. Shot in the Utah Badlands and directed by horror film director Lauren Sick, the film aired nationally in theaters in advance of Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated horror movie Nope. We amplified the moment with a product film, social extensions, and merchandise.
Triggering a little fear turned out to be scarily effective
As we mentioned at the outset, how do you make people take notice of a truck they likely can’t afford, that does something they’ll likely never do (drive fast in the desert) in order to halo the master brand? It turns out you can do it by tapping into some truths and taking a strategic leap. The human truth that people aspire to feelings, not products. The product truth that experiencing Raptor R’s 700 horsepower would scare most people senseless. And the strategic leap to go beyond tired tropes and frame fear as a feeling worth, well, feeling. Emphatically, we turned a product reveal into a big brand moment.