Ford nixes F-150 ad campaign, urges America to ‘finish strong’ in battle against Covid-19

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Pulling time originally intended to promote its new F-150 pickup, Ford Motor Co. will launch a nationwide ad campaign New Year’s Day asking Americans to “Finish Strong” in the battle against Covid-19 by wearing masks and taking other scientifically recognized steps to reduce the spread of the disease.

Produced by Peter Berg, the Hollywood director known for films such as “Patriots Day,” and narrated by “Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston, the 30-second spot will air during the first three days of 2021 during college bowl and NFL games, while being backed up with an expansive social media campaign.

The goal is to take politics out of the discussion, said Jim Baumbick, Ford’s vice president for enterprise product line management, strategy and planning, and who helped oversee the automaker’s production of masks, face shields and ventilators at the start of the pandemic.

“The underlying premise is that we’re not helpless,” Baumbick said Wednesday during a video conference. “The outcome is not predetermined. There are things you can do to save lives.”

As the year comes to an end, more than 340,000 Americans have died due to Covid-19, with more than 19 million infected.

“The outcome is not predetermined. There are things you can do to save lives.”

Like its cross-town rivals, Ford became involved in pandemic control and treatment efforts early on. It has so far produced 55 million face masks and millions more face shields and medical gowns. It also has produced equipment for hospitals, including 32,000 respirators.

“We feel we have a credible voice to convey this message because we are a trusted company and have put our money where our mouth is,” said Mark Truby, Ford communications chief.

But the real challenge now, Ford officials said, is to get Americans to move past politics and see the need for “working together” by taking steps that can slow the spread of the virus until enough Americans are vaccinated to reach the level of herd immunity.

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