Lightning Strikes: Launching the Model T of electric vehicles


Ford F-150 Lightning Strikes

America’s best-selling truck hit the road as an electric vehicle for the first time ever in 2022, and the customer launch of the F-150 Lightning became a tipping point in America’s move to EVs.

April 2022
The Idea

The Model T of Electric Vehicles

The F-150 Lightning customer launch was a chance to remind the world that Ford is simultaneously the world’s truck leader while also going big on electrification. Ford’s scale is a competitive differentiator, with thousands of electric trucks ready to go to customers from Day 1. Trucks would arrive in all 50 states within weeks.

A celebration of scale

We wanted to make the F-150 Lightning the most engaging product launch of the year. Our multiple touch-point campaign was a drumbeat that built excitement and anticipation for the truck. To generate impact at scale, we created moments that drove the electric vehicle conversation while celebrating Ford’s contribution to the U.S. economy, its people, customers and crucially, culture. On April 26, 2022, the first F-150 Lightning trucks were set to roll out of Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC), which provided an opportunity to celebrate F-150 Lightning’s arrival as a significant milestone in America’s transition from gas-powered vehicles to EVs.

Ford may have just changed our electric-vehicle future

Washington Post

Echoing a historic moment

The launch had to echo beyond Detroit and reach distinct audiences beyond general consumer excitement, so we crafted a broader campaign of rolling thunder that would reach all audiences and span weeks. “Lightning Strikes” was the signifier for a series of activations beginning in New York and stretching across the country, with the REVC event and an immersive driving opportunity in San Antonio as signature moments.

A series of electrifying experiences

To build anticipation for the F-150 Lightning launch, we kicked off a teaser phase in New York – coinciding with the high-profile New York Auto Show returning after the pandemic. First, Lightning struck in New York with guerilla-style LED projections on iconic locations throughout New York City all powered by F-150 Lightning’s onboard power. Additionally, the electric truck powered a cocktail hour for media, reservation holders and enthusiasts at Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn.

To get the world’s attention and celebrate the employees building F-150 Lightning, the main event was a launch celebration at Ford’s REVC in Michigan, where the electric truck was being built.

To reach Wall Street, we went to the New York Stock Exchange. Led by Ford CFO John Lawler, we leveraged Ford’s first-quarter earnings in broadcasts discussing the company’s EV momentum. In a historic first for a car brand, F-150 Lightning Chief Engineer Linda Zhang rang the opening bell to mark the first Lighting rolling off the line.

To reach Beltway media and policy makers, we shuttled VIPs home from the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in Lightning trucks, and later hosted vehicle walkarounds for government representatives.

A watershed moment for electric vehicles, courtesy of Ford


Value for the Brand

F-150 Lightning is now the best-selling electric truck in America, and the EV truck people think of first, according to consumer research. Following the launch, Ford saw a significant increase in brand awareness with a 5-point increase in consumer perceptions that Ford is transforming itself as a brand. On behalf of Ford and its customers, we were thrilled to have captured this historic moment in an electrifying and unforgettable way.

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