Automakers are always on the hunt for a strong celebrity endorsement. Not only can the right star significantly boost their brand image, but it can also generate awareness and interest among a wider audience that may not have considered the company's offerings before. So when the newest host of "The Tonight Show," comedian Jimmy Fallon, expressed that he was looking for the perfect pickup truck earlier in March, many automakers were clamoring to win him over.
According to Auto Blog, after Fallon made this announcement, several brands sent out a number of tweets encouraging him to test out their trucks. While Ford suggested he try the F-150 King Ranch edition, Chevy followed up by advising he consider the Silverado. Finally, Ram went all out by generating a specific hashtag for the campaign: #GUTSGLORYFallon. Not only that, but the company had a Ram 1500 parked right outside 30 Rockefeller Center, the shooting location for The Tonight Show. The sign on the backside of the vehicle said "Big enough, Jimmy? Test it out." Even General Motors and Nissan were contributing to the Twitter buzz, attempting to convince Fallon that their models were right for him.
On March 28, Fallon finally chose his truck: The Ford F-150. His pursuit of the ideal vehicle doesn't end there, though. He told viewers that he would spend another week surveying 10 different dealers across the country. Reps from these Ford dealers will be in a competition to sell him the truck, which has been named "Fingers on a 4X4." The contest requires them to keep their hands on an F-150 for as long as they can. The salesperson that touches the truck, which will be parked on the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York City, wins his sale.
A smart decision
Is it any surprise that Fallon selected the F-150? The model has a strong reputation for being a durable vehicle capable of handling a wide variety of conditions and requiring minimal auto repair. The F-150 also recently topped Automotive Science Group's list of most environmentally-friendly trucks for both regular and crew cabs. Auto Blog noted that sales of all Ford F-series trucks were up 8.4 percent in 2013, making up more than one-third of Ford's total sales for last year. Already, the F-150 has been gaining even more traction in 2014. Torque News reported that in January and February alone, Ford pushed 102,418 of its top-selling F-series pickup. Notably, 57 percent of those sold in the first two months of the year were equipped with one of the two V6 engines. Interestingly, the source noted that no other leading automaker has achieved a 20 percent level of V6 truck sales, demonstrating that consumers aren't just after this engine - they specifically want it to power their Ford pickups.
"We expect those numbers to hold for the rest of the year," said Doug Scott, Ford Truck marketing manager, as quoted by Torque News. "It really is amazing when you consider we are doing that with just two V6 engine choices - the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost and the 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine. When we come out with the new 2015 F-150, we will offer three different V6 engines, so the potential is there to go even higher."