Ford Enters Its Arthouse Years

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Nothing says “Buy a Ford!” like unhappy kids and a failed marriage, apparently.

Ford Motor Company is making waves in advertising circles — and confusing everyone else — after creating a car commercial in the form of a 16-minute short film that centers around the breakup, and sort-of reunification of an average Danish family.

The three-part film/commercial, directed by Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen for Ford of Denmark, is titled “Familien” (Danish for “family”) and features the breakup of unhappy couple Anders and Molly, and the divided family’s struggles to cope with the split.

Amidst the turmoil, Anders and Molly have to deal with the gloomy rebellion of their young son Troells (he won’t get out of the car, the little punk!) and the sudden disappearance of their teenage daughter Fiona (spoiler: the movie doesn’t get that dark).

Oh, and there’s totally a Ford Fusion that shepherds the grim-faced clan around.

Anyone who’s seen been forced to sit through an Ingmar Bergman film will recognize all the hallmarks of Scandinavian cinema: bare tree branches standing starkly against a flat-grey sky, long and mournful gazes out of a rain-flecked window, and people so filled with pent-up emotions that they might burst.

The commercial is meant to draw from the fact that Denmark has a crazy divorce rate, proving that high taxes and great transit doesn’t cure all, progressives.

Denmark’s The Local has called the ad “the most depressing car commercial ever,” while Adweek praised Ford for tackling the risky subject matter, describing it as “beautifully made, if darker than almost all car ads you’re used to.”

“Ford’s demography really is the Danish middle class, who do have the highest divorce rate in the world, said the director to Adweek. “And so we pitched this film under the banner ‘Ford. Supporting families against the odds.'”

Oh, so there are different classes in Scandinavia, hmm? There goes another myth.

Now that Ford has tackled the subject of broken homes, it’s hard not to be curious about the next commercial to emerge from their Danish film vault, and whether it be R-Rated (or as they say in Denmark, all ages).

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 05lgt 05lgt on Mar 05, 2016

    I'm with adweek, this is nice. Sometimes the right thing isn't all joy all the time, but you still want to do right. It's not marketing as usual, but that's kind of why it works. As far as the writers ideology, it's clearly overcome his ability to do simple research, wrong on just about every "fact" used to support his political views. Not exactly convincing.

  • Jellybean Jellybean on Mar 06, 2016

    I agree, it's nice. I used to work in the ad business (until I came to detest it). The restraint is remarkable. It really makes you 'feel' something. It likely resonates with people from such circumstances of parents breaking up. My parents stayed together, but I do remember a time when I was the age of the young boy, the thought occurred to me, of my parents separating. It was a truly terrifying thing.

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