Fieldays is coming and, over the next 33 days, New Zealand will once again be bombarded with advertising aimed at this nation's agrarian warriors, many of whom have a fair bit of cash stashed in their gumboots. And Ford has shot into first place with a tribute to what televisual experts all agree is the best programme ever made, A Dog's Show.
To celebrate its Fieldays Hot Deals, Ford, its agency JWT and production company Underpants, which shot and animated the ad, replaced actual sheep from the show's original footage with a few animated woolly numbers who, as JWT's executive creative director Cleve Cameron says, "do a wonderful little pronk".
"It's a nice little combination of surrealism and New Zealand broadcasting history," says Cameron.
He says it went through the archives and licensed the clip and the music, but it had to shoot an additional scene with a new dog at the end. And it turns out New Zealand's two degrees of separation scenario also applies in the canine world because when the chap in the original clip, Paul Sorenson, saw the new footage, he discovered that the dog used in the ad was actually the grandson of the dog featured on the show.
"It was brilliant serendipity."
Cameron says Ford has a long history on Kiwi farms, and while plenty of car brands (and other brands hoping to get a slice of the rural dollar) get busy around Field Days, he says it's great to see that it's continued in the footsteps of campaigns like The Passengers and creating work that better connects with the locals, rather than relying on international material. And he says there's some more big stuff in the pipeline for Ford later this year.
According to the Motor Industry Association, new car sales in April were the highest since 1982 and Ford has reason to celebrate at the moment, as its Ranger ute "was both the top selling commercial model and overall top selling model for April with 513 units sold (20 percent market share)". Its long-time foe, the Toyota Hilux, which has taken a slightly more direct approach for its Field Days promo, was the second best overall seller with 15 percent market share (377 units).
Holden is also aiming to appeal to those who do the dirty work with its new Colorado ad, but it's also gone down the inclusive track, saying its Field Days deals aren't just for the bucolic types.
For the year to date the Ranger is the top selling commercial model with 16 percent market share (1,684 units) followed by the Toyota Hilux, with 14 percent market share (1,503 units), 181 fewer than the Ford Ranger.
“We’ve always said it’s about letting the customer decide,” says Corey Holter, managing director, Ford New Zealand, in a release. “So while we’re happy with the results so far, it’s even better to see so many customers choosing the Ford Ranger, especially new customers who have made the switch. With higher residuals, multiple industry awards, better performance, capability and refinement, it makes switching from ‘what you’ve always driven’ to the Ford Ranger an easy decision in the end.”
In terms of overall sales, Toyota was the market leader for the month of April with 16 percent market share (1,384 units) with Ford second on 11 percent (985 units) and Holden third with 10 percent (915 units).
When it came to total sales in 2013, Toyota took top spot for the 26th consecutive year, with 23,705 vehicles sold for about 21 percent of the entire car market. Ford was second with almost half that number. But its passenger car sales have gone up from 5,880 in 2011 to 7,140 last year, with commercial sales up from 2,776 to 5,709 over the same period.