Ford Going to Extremes

Gary S. Vasilash

One of the problems that all vehicle manufacturers have is that Gen Z just isn’t as interested in cars as previous generations have tended to be, the Boomers, in particular. But trying to focus simply on the Boomers isn’t exactly a. . .growth strategy. So somehow, the younger demographic must be engaged.

As Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service—and, incidentally, the first head of Toyota’s youth-focused brand, Scion—put it, “Today’s Millennial generation is extremely influential so our job is finding new and inventive ways of communicating and connecting with them, which includes building our presence in the multibillion-dollar world of extreme sports.”

Extreme sports like driving cars in trucks in a manner that is often only personally experienced via a gaming platform.

So they are creating a video-based competition, the winners of which will have the opportunity to attend the Octane Academy, a fantasy camp hosted by Ford RallyCross and Off-Road truck racer Brian Deegan, Gymkhana star Ken Block, Formula Drift Champion Vaughn Gittin Jr., and X Games 16 Gold Medalist Tanner Foust.

Race on

“We know the Millennial generation is the next most influential generation beyond Baby Boomers, and with their interest in action sports, there is no better time for Ford to increase its presence in the world of extreme sports,” said John Felice, general manager of Ford and Lincoln Marketing. “Octane Academy and Ford’s action motorsports program were designed to bring the excitement and access of extreme sports to the heart of this new generation of enthusiasts, the Millennials.”

Of course, there’s doing what those guys do at events like the X Games and what most do on an X Box.

But what’s the alternative to trying?

Even the guys in the video point out that you may make it—or not. No whining. No crying.