How to Market the 2016 Ford Explorer

2016 Ford Explorer

Testing the 2016 Ford Explorer with an Epic Road Trip.

It’s not every day that a car company hands you the keys to a $52,970 2016 Ford Explorer and tells you to have fun exploring the most beautiful landscapes you’ve ever seen. The only agenda is a colorful map of interesting stops and historical landmarks.

When 2016 Ford Explorer debuted, the company created a 2700-mile, 25-day journey that started in Vancouver, British Columbia and ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The tour was split up into six groups.

I met up with Ford for Adventure 6 -The Land of Enchantment in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2016 Ford Explorer

Stylish Ken Panton of & with the equally stylish 2016 Ford Explorer. Credit: Holly Reich for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Updates to the 2016 Ford Explorer

For 25 years, Explorer has ruled as America’s best-selling SUV. The new Explorer has added so much more to the mix that keeping that number one position should be a breeze.

Some of the more interesting updates include:

  • The highest quality interior ever offered on a Ford vehicle in North America. Upgrades on the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum include a dash covered in leather, satin trim, unique wheels and grille; 90% of Ford customers ask for the most luxurious extras in the sports package
  • A 500-watt Sony Audio with Live Acoustics and Clear Phase Technology. Live Acoustics re-creates the sound dynamics of the world’s greatest concert halls; Clear Phase creates precisely pinpointed music  – just as the artist intended
  • Explorer Platinum also comes standard with new technology that includes entrance and exit Parallel Park Assist, a four-wheel-drive system that makes (the right drive) decisions for you and front and rear cameras complete with washers to clean off snow and mud. The front camera also has an 180 degrees wide-angle view

“We’ve taken lots of opportunities to improve and expand,” noted Michael Arbaugh, Chief Designer, Ford Motor Company, citing the lightweight magnesium seat frames and the heated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The shocks, struts, steering, and handling, were tweaked to provide an easier and more predictable ride. Arbaugh said, “This is the quietest Explorer ever; we wanted to get out of your way.”

The UNSTOPPABLE adventure

UNSTOPPABLE, the  2016 Ford Explorer’s mantra was the force behind the multi-leg adventure. In total, 187 journalists participated (28 were from China). Ford also had two Communications team members, one from Engineering, one from Design and two from Marketing per leg.

“We have a great creative team here are Ford and we all wanted to do something epic knowing how unique Explorer Platinum was. Explorer is a Ford and SUV icon!” said William A. Mattiace, Ford SUV Communications.

2016 Ford Explorer

We saw interesting places in New Mexico with the 2016 Ford Explorer. Credit: Holly Reich for AGirlsGuidetoCars

In planning the Explorer journey, Mattiace explained that they wanted to let Platinum Adventure Tour participants create their own fun, embarking on ultimate adventures and living what Explorer has meant to its loyal fans for the past 25 years.

“We started by asking people we knew, ‘Where are the most breathtaking places to explore and where are the places our customers dream about going in their Explorer and with their families,” he said.

The program was more ambitious than most other Ford launches. “We had to be completely mobile, and the entire team traveled with media on each of the adventures,” added Craig Patterson, Large SUV Marketing Manager. “At times, we felt like a rock band – packing up the Adventure Command Center semi-truck and hitting the road! It just took more planning and energy – but was well worth it to deliver a genuine adventure.”

The feedback from the event? The reviews from media and the response from people who saw the parade of Explorers pass through their neighborhood were awesome.

“It’s one thing to tell media and customers that the Explorer is all about adventure – but it’s quite another to put media in the shoes of our customers and let the vehicle speak for itself. Explorer is genuine, and this had to be an authentic experience – we wanted to deliver a sense of freedom, fun and adventure,” Patterson said.

Platinum will continue to be featured in our Be Unstoppable national television ads and through some great #ExploreMore themed work in the digital space.

Note: I was guest of Ford on the Unstoppable Adventure; opinions expressed are my own.


Holly has written about travel, cars, culture and health since she bought the first generation Macintosh. Her portfolio includes... More about Holly Reich