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Ford's clever blind spot ad explores potential of vertical mobile video

Ford is using the unique aspects of mobile video with a new campaign that promotes its blind spot awareness technology with an interactive video ad designed specifically for mobile.

The ad makes use of vertical video, a format growing in popularity, to formally show the dangers of blind spots when driving. This video spot is meant to promote its vehicles? Blind Spot Information System.

"When playing the video, the black bars which initially cover portions of road drivers would not see unless they had BLISS, fall away to reveal how the car's advanced system would capture them," said Eva Hasson,planning information specialist at Baumann Ber Rivnay/Saatchi & Saatchi Israel.

Playing with form
Every driver knows that not paying attention to the blind spot is an excellent way to get in an accident.

Ford has been trying to work around that problem with its new tech, the Blind Spot Information System, designed to help drivers negotiate their blind spot and be aware of what is happening all around them at all times.

To promote this new feature in Israel, Ford turned to marketing companies Baumann Ber Rivnay/Saatchi & Saatchi Israel to come up with an innovative ad that would creatively show the uses of this new system.

They decided on using vertical video, an ad format uniquely suited to working on mobile, to sell the feature.

The ad is a fairly ingenious way of using the standard perceptions of how videos are seen on a phone. 

When the ad is first viewed, it looks like a standard horizontal video with two black bars above and below the video, showing a car driving horizontally down the road. That is when the creativity comes in.

Next, the two black bars that usually signify a horizontally-oriented video fall away, revealing the ad to be vertically oriented and at the same time showing a nearby vehicle that the first car could not see because it was in its blind spot.

By turning the standard expectations of a mobile video on their head, Ford has created a surprising and engaging bit of advertising that entertains as well as demonstrating the properties of the advertised product through the form of the video itself.

Big boosts
The creativity put into this has paid off. Ford reports Facebook engagement of 600,000 with 300 shares and a reach of over 1.1 million. In a country of just 8 million people, that is a huge reach.

Additionally, the campaign shows the continued success of video marketing, especially of the kind that targets mobile. For example, H&M recently had a large amount of success with a short film ad that was created by Wes Anderson (see story).

Social video is also taking off, with the recent addition of live vertical video to Instagram having huge implications for marketers (see story).

In the end, video marketing is nothing without creativity and effort to back it up. This ad is just one way that brands are playing with the format of video itself to get their message across.

"This campaign is clear proof that in a world where consumers can no longer be bothered to turn their smartphone horizontally to watch content, vertical rocks!" Ms. Hasson said.