Ford overdubs first came to my attention while scrolling through Facebook. These roughly one minute long advertisements feature characters from nostalgic anime series such as Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball pitching the Ford Fusion. Generally I scroll past the targeted ads on Facebook because they're either something I've seen before or they just don't apply to me. However, this one grabbed my attention for two reasons: first because of my love for Sailor Moon and second because of my sheer confusion that it was a Ford ad. In my mind, I associate Ford with American made vehicles that are an American tradition and encompass the general ethos of what it means to be American. Seeing these Japanese animations selling a Ford car seemed a little out of place.
However, I know that Ford wouldn't put money into just any ad campaign and must have done hours of research before green-lighting these overdubs. So the question is no longer "why did they make this" but "who are they making it for?"
What we know
1) This is an ad for the Ford Fusion.
2) The Ford Fusion is one of the cheaper vehicles available.
3) Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball are definitely 90's nostalgia.
What this means
Essentially, the three elements of what we know give us a lot of insight in to who Ford's audience is with these overdubs. First, there's the car itself. The Ford Fusion isn't like the vehicles typically associated with the Ford brand I had originally thought of. Unlike Ford's trucks or muscle cars, the Fusion is the everyman vehicle. This leads us to believe that these overdubs are not for advanced car enthusiasts or people who need to use their car for towing. Second, there's the price range the vehicle falls under. Knowing that this is a cheaper vehicle, it's easy to make sense of the online platform. Generally speaking, people who are looking for less expensive cars lead a less expensive lifestyle. This means they are more likely to have a laptop, tablet, or even a smart phone instead of a TV. Lastly, there's the factor of nostalgia, which hints to the age demographic. The anime characters provide a familiar emotional connection to the ad, which draws the attention of potential customers. Since Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball both came out in the late 80's/early 90's their fan base would now be young professionals. Being young professionals, they can begin thinking about big kid purchases such as cars.
Okay, so who is the audience? The audience is a millennial aged, young professional looking to independently purchase a standard vehicle for the first time.