Actor Denis Leary, real-life customer, to host big Ford F-150 reveal

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press
Published 9:19 a.m. ET June 24, 2020 | Updated 7:29 p.m. ET June 24, 2020CLOSE

Department awarded a $25K grant from the Leary Firefighters Foundation to buy a training device used to teach how to properly use a fire extinguisher.

Bridgewater Courier NewsActor Denis Leary, beloved for his role as New York firefighter Tommy Gavin in “Rescue Me” and admired for his philanthropic support of firefighters since 9/11, will take the spotlight as host of the all-new Ford F-150 reveal.The event will be live-streamed at 8 p.m. on Thursday.”This is my first experience going out to shoot something” since the pandemic started, he told Automotive News. “It made me realize you can actually do it. It takes some more money and more planning and some more space, but you can do it.”Leary, who voiced Ford Trucks ads from 2007 to 2018, has a strong connection to first responders, which aligns with the sweet spot of the Ford F-150 customer, said Dawn McKenzie, Ford truck communications manager. “And he has an authentic connection to Built Ford Tough.”The Leary family does own a 2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty truck.”My wife [writer Ann Leary] is a horsewoman, so I’ve always been lugging horses, driving them around, dragging them from place to place,” Leary told CNET. “So we actually use our truck and beat the living daylights out of it. So I’m actually a customer.”So it makes sense that the taped show will feature Leary interacting with Ford truck team members highlighting the new features as well as interviewing Ford F-150 customers about how they use their trucks.Ford proudly builds all F-Series trucks in America, McKenzie noted. “We have assembled more full-size pickups trucks in the U.S. than Chevy and Ram combined since 2009.”Bringing back a known voice and face and name, who will not replace the current spokesman Bryan Cranston, suggests that Ford recognizes that Americans are seeking solace and comfort during this time of coronavirus, said advertising executive Robert Davidman, a partner at The Fearless Agency on Madison Avenue in New York.”With the world in turmoil, it only makes sense for Ford to bring back a bit of normalcy with the voice of Denis Leary to unveil the new F-150,” he said. “People need a sense of comfort and Denis’ voice was that for Ford for a long time. He is somebody that’s been there all along.” More: Ford F-Series pickup trucks second only to iPhone in sales. Here’s why that’s importantMore: Pickup truck love has America addicted, willing to sacrifice alcohol and coffee and …More: Why Ford is heating inside of police SUVs to 133 degreesMore recently, Leary has been the voice of Francis in “A Bug’s Life” and Diego in the “Ice Age” movies. He is an accomplished comedian, writer and producer.Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Leary, 62, is the son of immigrant parents from County Kerry, Ireland. Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, has spoken of his family’s proud connection to Ireland. First Mustang Mach-E, now … While Leary wins praise for his longtime connection to Ford, along with being a real customer who “represents the values of the target,” it strikes Marcus Collins, a Ross School of Business lecturer at the University of Michigan, as “kind of tone deaf to go with the status quo these days.”He said, “You have to read the room. At a time in our history when people are doing long reflections and inventory on their business practices, I scratch my head and wonder why the brand wouldn’t explore other, more diverse voices that speak to the cultural characteristics of their target. Seems like a lost opportunity to me.”In November, Ford featured British actor Idris Elba during the reveal of the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Elba worked in a Ford factory prior to acting.Watch the reveal ThursdayContact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512or Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.Read or Share this story:
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