AdSpotting: Ford Explorer gets funny with Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart's 2011 Ford Explorer commercial – Click above to watch after the jump

Company: Ford Motor Co.

Brand: Ford

Medium: TV

Ad Agency: The UniWorld Group,

Product: Explorer

Campaign: "Crazy Kevin."

What We Like: Humor often works better than painful earnestness to spotlight certain vehicle features in a typical SUV. Kevin Hart has a certain poor man's Chris Rock likability. The ad has a story, with a beginning and an end instead of a prattle of feature benefits.

What We Don't Like: Not much except the ad could be funnier to really take advantage of Hart's talents. The jokes aren't quite sharp enough. There was probably funnier stuff that came out of working with him, and that may have been left on rejected storyboard. Ford has a habit of smoothing out what might have been an edgy idea creative because it's too afraid of being risky with ad content.

Strategy: Ford wants to capitalize on Kevin Hart's brand of humor, which typically centers on his life as a husband and father. The ads will extend into TV, radio, print and digital. Each ad is meant to play up some aspect of the redesigned 2011 Explorer, such as its "Terrain Management System" (TMS) and inflatable rear seatbelts. The kickoff features Hart showing up shockingly late for his brother's wedding in a 2011 Ford Explorer. As he speeds into the wedding he creates a disturbance where the Explorer steals the spotlight from the bride and groom. During the ad, Hart highlights TMS and how he traveled through sand and mud to arrive at the wedding. He also shows off Explorer's seven-passenger seating capacity by packing the entire rear of the vehicle with wedding gifts – all while cheering on the "crazy" factor of the SUV.

Grade: B

What do you think? Watch the ads for yourself after the jump.

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