Ford Tough? ‘Sport Science’ Guy Puts New F-150 to Brutal Tests

Source: Ford Motor Company

If you’re like us, you might find the “Sport Science” bits on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” tedious. You might even change the channel while John Brenkus shows you how far Juan Lagares went to snag a deep fly at Citi Field. As part of a new marketing campaign assault in support of its new F-150, Ford brought in Brenkus to test the new aluminum truck compared to the previous steel-bed F-150. This one held our attention and provided some useful answers about the 2015 model’s strength.

Steel F-150 vs. aluminum F-150

During the development phase, Ford made sure to highlight the increases in durability it said the aluminum F-150 would boast. After all, truck buyers regard quality and dependability as far more important than fuel economy during the shopping period. Solid fuel economy is nice, but any dip in the F-150’s strength would be devastating.

John Brenkus took his “Sport Science” approach to the aluminum-alloy bed of the 2015 Ford pickup in a new segment featuring four projectiles from the sports world. Brenkus brought in world-class athletes to see what type of damage would be done by a fastball, a slap shot, a shot-put, and a long-range golf drive to both vehicles. Ford’s aluminum model won the day on every test, and in some of the tests it wasn’t even close.

Overall, the 2015 F-150 showed 30% shallower dents after the punishment from Benkus’s four athletes. The eyeball test reveals the biggest difference comes from the impact of small projectiles. World Long-Drive Champion Tim Burke sent golf balls at both truck beds at speeds over 200 miles per hour, and while there is an impact and debris flying from both trucks, a hole is visible to the eye when Burke slams the steel-bed F-150 from the model year 2014.

Ford’s full-throttle ad campaign

Considering the F-150’s run of four decades as the best-selling pickup truck, Ford’s fate is very much tied up in the success of its aluminum model, and the automaker is not taking it lightly. The marketing campaign for the new F-150 will encompass YouTube spots, college bowl game ads, on-demand programming, and other tactics across mobile, desktop, and broadcast channels.

Ford says the marketing blitz is the biggest ever for one of its trucks, and it’s likely only the 2015 Mustang got a bigger launch overall. In any event, anyone near a television set or device that connects to the Internet will be seeing this campaign in action in the early weeks of 2015 and beyond, even though Ford won’t have the trucks fully stocked in dealerships until February or March.

According to the Detroit Free Press, that hasn’t stopped prospective truck buyers from from doing a pre-build on the aluminum F-150. Over 800,000 online shoppers have configured their next-gen F-150, ready or not. That makes it the most hyped Ford of all time, at least from the consumer’s perspective.

Ford is banking on its “Ford Tough” approach to win the day for now. When gas prices go up, you might start to hear something about fuel economy. We heard one model gets 26 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s no Prius, but it’ll do.