Ford Made a Scary Commercial Inspired by Grindhouse Horror Flicks
You're traveling alone through the desert, pursued by a demon with mischief on its mind. You'll need a vehicle that's "Scary Fast" to get the hell out of there!
Ford spins this scenario in a faux horror film trailer touting its 2023 F-150 Raptor R. Developed with Wieden+Kennedy New York, the two-minute spot shows the truck—built for speed and off-road adventure—racing through a spooky, seemingly haunted landscape.
Cacti engulfed in flame set the mood, as rattlers, wolves and scorpions roam the night. Did we mention there's a demon, too? Indeed we did. So, floor it, or you'll wind up as buzzard bait.
Director Lauren Sick channels the neo-goth mojo she previously employed for Dove Cameron's uber-popular "Boyfriend" music video to impressive effect. Here, the threats feel palpable, yet the video never goes full throttle with the scares. Instead, Sick leaves much to the imagination, creating a credible atmosphere of dread, with the Raptor cast as a souped-up savior (as long as there's gas in the tank).
Shot in the Utah badlands, the film drops this week in theaters, on YouTube and across Ford's social channels, with OOH poster installations and "Scary Fast" merch in the mix:
Below, W+K copywriter Jake Thompson takes us behind the scenes.
Muse: Where you get the idea to make a horror-themed commercial?
Jake Thompson: We wanted to convey the feeling of what it's like to drive a Raptor R, and that feeling goes beyond "thrilling." It's terrifying—in a good way (because the truck's so fast). The so-scary-it's-fun nature of the vehicle made us think of people packing into theaters to watch horror movies, and it all kind of took off from there. Put simply, Raptor R and horror movies are both ways people scare themselves on purpose.
Were there films or TV shows that inspired specific scenes?
The whole gritty Grindhouse aesthetic was the main point of inspiration. We liked the notion of making something that felt nightmarish and deliberately illogical.
Lauren Sick was a sick choice to direct, as it were. Why her?
If we wanted to make a truck commercial, we would've hired somebody who makes truck commercials. We wanted to make a mini-horror film, so we hired somebody who makes those. Lauren is also a total horror geek, so she had a deep well of inspiration to draw from.
Any anecdotes or tales from the set?
Every animal—from the scorpion to the wolf—was shot practically. Meaning, they drove out to the desert with us and 'acted' on our behalf. I think they all did a great job. The wolf, as it turns out, was a very sweet, friendly wolf. Like, just a happy boy. So, we had to do a bunch of work in post to make him look terrifying.
Another recurring challenge was the inability of our pursuit vehicle to keep up with the Raptor R. It's that fast. The film features a lot of stunt driving. We knew we'd have to feature a giant disclaimer at the beginning. So, we embraced it and made the disclaimer feel like the opening title card for a movie trailer.
Who is the target audience? Why will they respond to this approach?
Anyone who enjoys intense, creepy entertainment. Hopefully, they'll respond to it because it's legitimately creepy and intense!
AGENCY: W+K NEW YORK
EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Karl Lieberman
CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Eric Helin, Stuart Jennings
COPYWRITER: Jake Thompson
ART DIRECTOR: Alex McClelland
HEAD OF INTEGRATED PRODUCTION: Nick Setounski
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jessica Griffeth
SENIOR PRODUCER: Alex Kramer
PRINT PRODUCER: Blake Harmon
GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR: Mike Welch
ACCOUNT DIRECTOR: Phil Pennington
ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR: Caroline Schwartz
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Terrance Woodall
STRATEGY DIRECTOR: Newman Granger
STRATEGIST: Hannah Kratky
SENIOR SOCIAL STRATEGIST: Liana Holland
MEDIA & COMMS DIRECTOR: Geoff Scoones
MEDIA & COMMS PLANNER: Carly Lissak
SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER: Nicole Formisano
PROJECT MANAGER: Chantal Kharas
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS: Karen Murillo
BUSINESS AFFAIRS: Nestor Gandia
TRAFFIC: Sonia Bisono
PRODUCT INFORMATION SPECIALIST: John Bonacquisti
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Greenpoint Pictures
DIRECTOR: Lauren Sick
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Logan Triplett
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Tatiana Rudzinski
HEAD OF PRODUCTION: Karen Berkowitz
LINE PRODUCER: Steve Oare
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Andrew Peterson
PRODUCTION COMPANY: San Diego Productions
PHOTOGRAPHER: David Burgess
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Rick Drake
EDITORIAL/ONLINE COMPANY: JOINT
EDITOR: Matt Burke
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Moon Noh, Liza Friendman
Ford | Carnivore Reveal
CLIENT: Ford Motor Company
PROJECT NAME: Carnivore Reveal
CLIENT CONTACT: David Finnegan; David Rodriguez
GRAPHIC ARTIST/CLEANUP: Elise Dyck
POST PRODUCER: Kari Ickert
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Michelle Carman
TELECINE COMPANY: THE MILL
PRODUCER: Edward Rilli
VFX SUPERVISOR: James Allen
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jimmy Bullard
EDIT/POST Rock Paper Scissors
MANAGING DIRECTOR Eve Kornblum
HEAD OF PRODUCTION Justin Kumpata
PRODUCER Shayna Rubin
EDITOR Akiko Awakawa
EDITOR Aaron Tompkins
CLIENT: Ford Motor Company
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Jennifer Suttlemyre
BRAND COMMS MANAGER: David Finnegan
MARCOMMS MANAGER: David Rodriguez
NA PRODUCT COMMS MANAGER: Mike Levine
TRUCK COMMS MANAGER: Dawn McKenzie
NEW PRODUCT SECURITY: Eric Zimmer