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Ford Trucks TV Spots

These pickups are built Franklin Gothic tough.

Contributed by Marc Oxborrow on Jan 11th, 2011. Artwork published in .

Parked in my driveway are two decidedly non-macho vehicles, both nearly 15 years old. I freely admit that I’m not a “car guy”. That said, I love the surge of typographic testosterone that Ford has been unleashing since 2009 to sell their F-150 and Super Duty pickups.

Using ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy and a bevy of inventive motion graphic techniques, the commercials are full of witty type treatments, perfectly complemented by the guys-talking-to-guys voiceover (initially by snarky comedian Denis Leary, currently by a sound-alike). When the spots (created by New York design/animation firm Offspring) first aired in 2009, the type and overall effect was fairly two-dimensional, with angled layouts that recalled Constructivist posters. Type in the 2011 incarnations is often three-dimensional and casts shadows on the highways, work sites and other manly scenes where the trucks earn their keep.

Speaking of Franklin, if you’ve ever found the great American Gothic short on widths or weights check out David Berlow’s completely revised digitization, ITC Franklin, jointly released by ITC and Font Bureau in 2008. The payload? 48 styles. Proportional figures, fractions, Extended Latin, and even unicase glyphs come standard.

Update: Agency Team Detroit has more info and samples from the campaign.


  • ITC Franklin Gothic
  • Franklin Gothic




2 Comments on “Ford Trucks TV Spots”

  1. The macho meathead overtones in both ads cause bouts of second-hand embarrassment, but I do agree that the newer, dimensional, approach from 2011 is executed well. The earlier approach from 2009 seems more like it's just jumping on the bandwagon of similar typographic videos that were going around at the time (and still are to a certain extent). The "Kinetic Typography" channel on Vimeo is full of examples of this transcribe-scale-and-rotate animation style – some done well, some not so well.

    Franklin is a great, if not obvious, choice in both cases, for its "hardworking American" qualities. Had they opted for ITC Franklin though, with all the widths and weights you mentioned, they could've added a bit more depth and hierarchy to the typographic elements. Speaking of which, I like your method for describing fonts using auto jargon :)

  2. Marc Oxborrow says:
    Dec 6th, 2011 2:21 pm

    And now Ron Paul has gotten into the kinetic typography game, seemingly inspired by Ford ads and the like.

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