Ford of Europe: Very Gay Raptor

In June 2021, Ford of Europe celebrated the 25 th anniversary of its Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employee Resource Group (GLOBE ERG) and Ford of Germany was planning its annual activity to support the Christopher Street Day Pride Parade in Cologne. As part of this, Ford and our WPP agency team had been working closely with GLOBE members, exploring ways to continue championing diversity at Ford, which is a core pillar of Ford’s brand values.

By coincidence, in June Ford launched its new F150 Ranger Raptor – a ‘badass’ utility truck. A Ford employee spotted a homophobic comment written in response to the truck’s colour – describing at ‘Very Gay’. Ford, in consultation with its GLOBE ERG members and WPP, decided to respond – not only calling out the comment but using it as a way to show Ford’s support to its family of LGBT+ employees and customers.

The Very Gay Raptor was created to call out the negative comment but Ford was astonished by the overwhelmingly positive response. Many consumers posted ‘where can I buy one? You should make it real’. So that’s exactly what Ford did – we created a one-of-a-kind Very Gay Raptor to act as a symbol of Ford’s long-term LGBT+ allyship, which was proudly unveiled at this year’s Christopher Street Day parade.

Our strategy was developed in close consultation with Ford’s GLOBE ERG members to ensure the right balance between showing allyship and avoiding ‘rainbow-washing’. The tonality of the original ‘clap back was intentional: Proud, not aggressive. Playful but purposeful. Reactive but not retaliatory. A simple social media post (formatted for IG, Facebook and Twitter) was the primary communication, supported by a stand-alone Ford of Germany media release to coincide with the Christopher Street Day employee activity.

Within hours, the #VeryGayRaptor was trending on social media and quickly became Ford of Europe’s most successful organic social media posts ever.

    • 146m+ impressions and 38k total post interactions on Facebook
    • Over 9m+ impressions, 118k engagements on IG
    • 32m+ impressions, 4.5k+ tweets/re-tweets and 4k+ users directly engaging via Twitter
    • On the Ford of Europe channels, we recorded more than 8m+ organic impressions and 282k+ total engagements on the recent VGR post. These results are significantly higher than our usual organic performance across Twitter and Instagram.
    • A Brandwatch sentiment analysis found, that although there has been some negativity on the post (8%), 91% were neutral-positive
    • Popular TikTok influencer Josh Helfgott (4.5M followers) posted a positive video of the #VeryGayRaptor, viewed 4.2 million times with 1M likes
    • 140+ media articles, with a reach of over 22 million (Prime-Cision)

The campaign was recognized with a Gold Lion for Media at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022.

Sector: Mobility + Transportation
Specialist expertise: People + Purpose, Content + Publishing Strategy
Office: London, Berlin

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