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Ford Overdubs Ads Striking A Cord with Nostalgia-Loving Millennials

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Psycho Mantis Ford Overdubs

You may or may not have heard of Ford Overdubs, a series of advertisements that take scenes from cartoons, live-action television shows, and video games and dubs in dialogue so that it appears that characters are actually discussing Ford vehicles. There’s a fairly decent chance that you have, though, considering that they amount to Ford’s most-watched YouTube series.

Ford is touting the reach of its Overdubs series with respect to pulling in views in the millions, attracting new consumers in general, and with regards to attracting interest from coveted demographics like women, African Americans, Hispanics, and, of course, those pesky, pesky millennials.

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“We found through research that millennials, in particular, will shut down if they feel that they’re being sold to directly. So it is important to attract their attention in an authentic way,” said Ford Digital Marketing Manager Kellee Montgomery. “The videos contain heavy vehicle messaging, but in the right context, the long-winded technical speak becomes more entertaining and unexpected coming from the animated characters.”

It’s Marketin’ Time
Photo: Saban Entertainment

To extend the emotional connection to nostalgic millennials, Montgomery added that Ford went out of its way to secure the original voice actors for certain parts. The most recent ads featuring scenes from the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers pulled together members of the original cast to reprise roles ranging from the Power Rangers themselves to monsters Goldar and Scorpina.

The reason that the voice of Solid Snake sounds so much like David Hayter in ads based on 1998’s Metal Gear Solid is because the voice indeed belongs to David Hayter; given that Hayter hadn’t been involved in a Metal Gear game for six years when the Ford ad went up (his part was filled by Kiefer Sutherland in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain), this might serve to make these short spots all the sweeter for fans of the franchise.

(Side note: it appears that Ford has removed both of its Metal Gear-based ads, “A Codec Call to Remember” and “A Meeting with Psycho Mantis.” While this could be for any number of reasons, there’s nothing to stop you from suspecting that it has something to do with Konami being ridiculous and terrible and spiteful toward anything that might accidentally make people enjoy its properties.)

Another video featuring Captain Planet and the Planeteers shilling the Ford Focus Electric appears to have also been taken down from YouTube (though it still exists in a tweet). Let’s blame Konami for that one, too; they deserve it.

Sailor Moon Ford Commercial

Of the eight available Ford Overdubs videos, six have been viewed more than 1.5 million times. At the head of the pack is “Sailor Moon’s Ford Fusion Dream,” which has been viewed nearly 6.5 million times, followed by “Sailor Moon and the Persuasive Guardians,” which has been seen 3.7 million times. Two ads based on Dragon Ball Z, “The Ultimate Wish is Granted” and “Witness an Unbelievable Fusion,” have been viewed a respective 2.5 million and 1.9 million times; two ads that use footage from a telenovela. “Date Night” and “The Realization,” boast a respective 1.9 million and 1.6 million views.

“People will comment on YouTube things like, ‘My next car will be a Focus because of this ad,’” said Montgomery. “Our social listening team monitors the comments and responds to people in real time to see if they’re interested in scheduling a test drive at their local dealer.”

With the success of Ford Overdubs, it begs the question of what comes next. Will Ford continue down the video game route and have polygonated Harry Mason escape from the fog-choked streets of Silent Hill in a 2018 Ford Escape just in time for Halloween? Oh wait, Konami terrible, check. Uh, maybe they can fit an Escape into the Spencer Mansion or have Brad drop a one onto the roof for the fight against the Tyrant or something.

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Watch: Ford Overdubs Playlist