You don't see much vehicle advertising on my site, although I have done decades worth. Because, to me, nothing ages an ad as quickly as an old vehicle. These ads, among my favorites, seem somewhat timeless. We worked with National Geographic photographers, sending them out into the real world to find real Ford trucks in real life situations. The photo assignments were divvied up according to the types of magazines the ads would run in: DIY, dirt bike/racing, and sportsman pubs. As the writer, I worked closely with the media department on this one. I spoke to and briefed each of the photographers and worked with the National Geo rep. The photographers went out into the world and returned with contact sheets and their notes. The art directors chose the final photos. I compiled the photographers' notes, interviewed both the photographers and the subjects by phone and wrote the stories. The idea came from the executive creative director at the time, Bruce Rooke. I was very happy I got the assignment. It was great fun. A SIDE NOTE: Um, I love art directors. I mean, where would we be without them? But, certain taste fairies ... to them, type is just ... texture. As a writer, I think copy should be legible. Guess who lost that battle? So, using a magnifying glass to read it, I retyped the copy here. Good lord!
Outer Banks North Carolina Ford Country September 9, 1999 7:20 p.m.
COPY The calm between the storms. Hurricane Dennis had just blown through, wiping out houses, leaving debris and masses of sand. Now the threat of Hurricane Floyd hovers in the minds of locals, like Brian Dills. “Every storm situation is stressful – you have the chance of losing everything. It comes down to the basics of life. Mother Nature rules. You are quickly humbled.” Brian is working to repair a house that Dennis spared. “Sure, I’m earning a living, but at the same time, I’m helping people out. I like giving people a hand.” That’s pretty common talk in Ford Country.
Photographer’s notes: (running up the left-hand side) “My assignment was to record life as it happens in “Ford Country.” Brian owns one of the many Ford trucks that were scattered along the beach, working between storms. Brian drives an F-350 turbo diesel. He told me that the sand was pushed in from the ocean, so only 4x4’s could get out to the house.” –David Alan Harvey
Osterburg Pennsylvania Ford Country September 11, 1999 6:15 p.m.
COPY The backside of Eric Sides. Eric Sides is a regular competitor in the State Championship races at Blair-Bedford Dirt Raceway. Here you’ll usually find his Ranger parked midway down the drag strip with his “customized” seating. He and a friend bought $80 worth of lumber and built mini grandstand bleachers fitted for the back of his Ranger. “I’ve thought about getting a patent on this and making one out of aluminum that could be lowered and raised by air pressure or hydraulics.” Genius runs rampant in Ford Country.
Photographer’s notes: “Capturing real life in “Ford Country,” I found Eric and his ’96 Ranger Splash amongst the many Ford trucks at the Raceway. Eric hauls his 8’x10’ trailer with three bikes to the track, along with his bleachers, so he’ll always have ‘the best seat in the house.’ Ingenious stuff.” – William Albert Allard
Stony Point Resort Walker Minnesota September 14, 1999 7:30 a.m
COPY Counting the minutes until he can go fishing. “Catch one, you’re hooked – all you do is eat, breathe and sleep muskies. It’s not easy to get one, they’re very elusive. A keeper is 40 inches, that’s about 18 to 22 pounds. There’s a mystique about it. Muskie fishermen, they’re a breed in themselves.” So says John Walters, one of the breed. Problem is, John owns the resort and can’t fish until the last guest leaves. That’s two weeks from now. “And here this is the Muskie Capitol of the nation. It’s frustrating,” says John. Life in Ford Country isn’t all loon calls and sunsets. Sometimes you just have to tough it out.
Photographer’s notes: “While out shooting life in Ford Country,” I caught John musing. He told me his ’86 F-150 is still running strong at 144,000 miles, ‘Forty, forty-five below zero, started every time.’ He bought his '99 F-150 sight unseen. ‘Based on that first Ford, I knew it’d be just fine.’” -Joel Satore