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Ranty Denis Leary Is New Voice of Ford Trucks

Posted by: David Kiley on November 4, 2008

Denis Leary is the new voice of the Ford F-Series pickup truck.

The new effort, from WPP’s Team Detroit, attempts to leave behind the ubiquitous feats of strength one-upmanship that seems to have dominated pickup advertising in the past few years. Like this Toyota ad:

Leary was cast for his grittiness that is combined with a “this is the way I see the world” irony that is in the actor’s voice in so many of his roles. he is literally known for his rants.

The 60 and 30-second ads are a flurry of fast-moving graphics and pictures of the truck with Leary’s hop-scotch narration of product benefits like fuel economy (best in class) trailer towing, payload, etc.

Team Detroit creative chief Toby Barlow says “the thermo-nuclear war is over in truck advertising” as far as demonstration ads go.

According to Matt VanDyke, Ford director, U.S. Communications, Marketing, dealers were concerned that Ford’s truck advertising was leaning too much toward the extreme truck buyer who buys the Super Duty version of the truck. When they saw Leary’s rants about how good the truck is, “the support was huge,” he said.

The focus of the campaign is around the F-Series' capability for contractors, builders, ranchers, etc. And part of that message is the fuel economy.

Ford's research shows a severe contraction of the pickup truck market among "image" buyers. Those were the folks who are weekend warriors/Home Depot shoppers who liked the idea of a pickup when gas was $1.50 per gallon.

Reader Comments


November 4, 2008 4:37 PM

I don't know about Dennis Leary, but Denis Leary is pretty funny.


November 6, 2008 8:22 AM

Good ads finally!

Pete Remick

November 10, 2008 5:06 PM

Never learned so much about a truck in 30 seconds. Takes storytelling to a new level. Finally, a truck with brains to go with the brawn.

B Stack

November 17, 2008 1:13 PM

Ford can keep Leary. He needs to pick a better comedy forum than poking fun of the epidemic of Autism (1 out 150 born children). He's a total piece of trash.

I was going to buy a Ford F150 - looks like I am going Chevy or GMC. They do not pay people like Leary to promote their products - rather someone like Boomer Esiason (Chevy) who raises tons of $$$ for CF children, and has morals.

Ford dropped major credibility in my mind for this hire.


Phill Barufkin

November 22, 2008 6:54 PM

Effective ads. Who would of thought Leary could also deliver as a spokesperson. His style combined with the benefit story format results in a winning formula.


November 28, 2008 2:16 PM

Congratulations to Ford for inching up the mileage of the F-150 while increasing the power. Proves that faced with declining share, even the stubborn mules of Detroit can embrace progress.

Let's also laud the shift away from "mine is bigger than yours" truck ads that have little relevance to most consumers. Not sure though if this ad's frenetic style works or not -- hard to focus on any one benefit. I feel like they're taking me on a trip with *Timothy* Leary. Kudos, however, for trying something fresh and different. Lord knows they need more of that.

john shantz

November 28, 2008 9:39 PM

Shades of Apple's latest stuff. Ignore the competition and speak in a unique style (in this case one that Leary embodies.


December 15, 2008 9:33 PM

I am so tired of the rip off of the type treatment here. This is going to become passe before the year is out, and if I'm not mistaken, it is ripped off of a website for a non-profit for girls.

So Ford, Starbucks, why not ask your art directors to be original.


December 20, 2008 10:51 PM

B Stack
November 17, 2008 01:13 PM
Ford can keep Leary. He needs to pick a better comedy forum than poking fun of the epidemic of Autism (1 out 150 born children). He's a total piece of trash.

B Stack...Get your facts straight!! You pull a line out of context and make a faulty jugement.
Obviously someone read parts of the book to you or you read a review in the Sunday Comics section.
He was using an analogy which you didn't grasp. try reading before drawing conclusions.


December 21, 2008 6:11 PM

Denis Leary steals comedy material. I'm not a fan. Look him up on Wikipedia.

chevy fan

January 8, 2009 12:26 PM

hey B-Stack, why don't you get your facts before you shoot off your mouth. I saw Dennis Leary on The Daily Show talk about that whole fiasco about him poking fun at Autism. The fact is it was taken out of context and he is actually a decent guy. So but whatever truck you want, you obviously don't have a clue what you're talking about anyway.

John Shantz - are you kidding me? Apple is ignoring the competition? Did you not see the 1 million some odd commercials with the two guys "mac and PC" where Mac is oviously pointing out everything wrong with the Microsoft world? Maybe that type of obvious in your face targeting is a little subtle for you.
Bottom line: Dennis leary is very effective as a spokesman and actually does a good job. And the rest of you should get your acts together before commenting on line


January 18, 2009 5:49 PM

Damn Chevy, why not tell us how you really feel. Guess somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed. Anyway, I do have to agree, good job On the ad.

paddyoh furniture

April 6, 2009 10:39 PM

Now if we could just get Jeff Bridges to bail on the Hyundai ads.

HIE-YUN-DIE does NOT rhyme with Sunday.

Go here and let Jeff Bridges know !



April 30, 2009 1:27 AM

These ads are awesome.Telling it like it is.This will tap a whole new market seg!

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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