Ford turns to John Farnham and flash mobs to unveil new voice control technology

John Farnham look-a-likes in Ford flash mob

The voice of Aussie rocker John Farnhan, and a series of flash mobs in Melbourne and Sydney, have been used by Ford to show off the car maker’s voice control technology.

The flash mobs featured John Farnham look-a-likes, who sung a bit of ‘You’re the Voice’ at passers by. They were filmed and distributed on social media.

The next phase of the campaign was a 60-second TV ad – breaking today – which features a young couple stuck in traffic. After a woman presses the Sync button on the steering wheel, she introduces her man to voice connectivity and John Farnham appears.

“By bringing the SYNC platform to life with John’s iconic song, our goal was to catch people by surprise and get them to think differently about our brand. We hope it encourages people to learn more about it,” said David Katic, general marketing manager for Ford Australia.

Richard Muntz, executive creative director of JWT Melbourne, the agency behind the campaign, said: “The human voice is the next game changing technology. And Ford puts it into your car with SYNC. Its launch was a huge opportunity for Ford to take a leadership position in the auto industry.”

  • Creative: JWT
  • Media: Mindshare
  • Digital: Wunderman
  • PR: Pulse


  1. Mr T
    15 Oct 12
    9:01 am

  2. Leadership? Mercedes Benz has had it for years

  3. jed
    15 Oct 12
    9:39 am

  4. wow..that has to be the worst flash mob activation in the past 5 years

  5. Glen Wheatley
    15 Oct 12
    9:58 am

  6. TV ad almost works.

    The other thing’s a total flash fail.

  7. Scott Pettet
    15 Oct 12
    11:07 am

  8. I would’ve thought there was a huge opportunity here for Ford to leverage this sort of technology to attract a new generation of customer to the brand. And then they roll out John Farnham. To who exactly is this ad / campaign targeted?

  9. Glenn Wheatley
    15 Oct 12
    12:12 pm

  10. Gee that’s a creative idea….

  11. P
    15 Oct 12
    12:24 pm

  12. To Scott’s comment, my interpretation of the use of this track was to use a song that many of us will recognise – it’s a classic for many Aussies aged say…30-50? ie: people that can afford (up to the $38k or so) for the Focus Titanium model..Of course I might be wrong!

  13. mimi
    15 Oct 12
    12:45 pm

  14. Are they “flashing” Glenn Wheatley… Farnsey’s manager???? IT looks JUST LIKE him…

  15. Shamma
    15 Oct 12
    12:49 pm

  16. Jeez that does look alarmingly like GW – what an amazing coincidence.

  17. zzzz
    15 Oct 12
    1:20 pm

  18. TV spot on last night. Had no idea what brand it was for. However, fairly sure was cringe-tastic. Likely to cause me to switch off tv if it ever appears on again.
    A new low for advertising in australia.

  19. Cameron Bailey
    15 Oct 12
    1:34 pm

  20. I thought so too Mimi

  21. Shamma
    15 Oct 12
    1:34 pm

  22. ok so the video is Wheatley – the title is ‘The Farnham Flashmob need a manager’

  23. Sara
    15 Oct 12
    1:39 pm

  24. I saw the flash mob the other day – it was hilarious. They were dancing through the pedestrian area of Pitt St Mall. I actually thought it was the Chaser doing a spoof. The flash mob were actually great singers too. Brightened up my day – though I had no idea it was for Ford.

  25. Josh
    15 Oct 12
    2:44 pm

  26. The first thing I thought was “Gee, Farnsie must really need money badly”.

  27. Sarah Edwards
    15 Oct 12
    3:05 pm

  28. ‘Jed” and “Glen Wheatley” – Can I suggest that when you offer up a comment you back it up with some reasoning as to why you belive that. This is a blog / commentary for marketing professionals therefore if you are going to offer up your thoughts then explain why you think that. Not surprised you didn’t use your real / full names as would hope you don’t contribute in this way whilst you are at work. Let’s clean up the troll commentary on here, yeah?

  29. Gregory
    15 Oct 12
    3:34 pm

  30. If only Ford used its powers for good rather than evil, it would build a time machine so I could travel back to 1986 and destroy the master tapes of You’re the Voice.

    The real question is who is the bigger tit? The agency that suggested “Flash Mob and Johnnie Farnham” and kept a straight face, or the client who said, “Mmm, yes please, I’ll buy that.”

  31. Shamma
    15 Oct 12
    4:40 pm

  32. It’s easy to see how they got to where they got to … not sure if that makes it a great idea or a not so great idea.

    Farnham real winner as he would have been well rewarded and it puts him back in lounge rooms which is good for touring.

  33. Sue
    15 Oct 12
    8:45 pm

  34. What a great idea to use John Farnham – I and all my friends now want to buy a Ford if we can have John pop up from the back seat. Absolutely genius marketing! John and the song are instantly recognizable to the majority of the demographic and of course those of us with an ounce of sense can immediately see the connection.

  35. Rob
    16 Oct 12
    8:32 am

  36. @ Sue, seriously? with a straight face?

  37. Craig
    16 Oct 12
    10:09 am

  38. People are talking about it and linking it to Ford. Isn’t that what they wanted?

    What cars do marketers drive?

  39. Rob
    16 Oct 12
    11:12 am

  40. @Craig the old chestnut “people are talking about it” as it applies to the industry and mumbrella means two-fifths of sweet fa to a marketer investing in consumer campaigns.

    Otherwise, there’d be a much cheaper way to create a campaign specifically for our industry and my bet is it wouldn’t involve a tvc and random crappy flash mobs in public places……more like a few thousand on the bar at a pub somewhere in the inner city with an open invitation and branded coasters to do the comms job.

  41. Gerhard
    16 Oct 12
    9:02 pm

  42. The Farnham flash mob was absolutely hilarious! I am actually pretty disappointed to read that they are associated with a marketing campaign. If they were just out to have a laugh (which I thought they were all about), then all the power to them.

  43. Bob
    17 Oct 12
    1:10 am

  44. Young people don’t listen to John Farnham!

  45. Sue
    17 Oct 12
    10:10 am

  46. Bob – check you facts before posting. There are a lot of young people that listen to John Farnham. Contrary to populate belief some youngsters have good taste in music. Though what that has to do with this thread and the use of John and his fabulous voice for a Ford ad , I don’t know

  47. William Rodger
    17 Oct 12
    5:42 pm

  48. Well my daughter who is only 15 saw the ad for thenfirstbtime and came running down stairs asking me if I had seen the new ford ad with john far Ham in it…so something must be working somewhere.

  49. B
    19 Oct 12
    2:21 pm

  50. Im 23 and i know who John Farnham is and i love that song and love the ad…. well done guys!!!!

  51. Patrick Otto
    23 Oct 12
    9:14 pm

  52. Absolutely love it, just a pity that it isn’t a Holden, but hey, at least Ford have realised how valuable and what a great singer John Farnham is.

  53. Bob
    24 Oct 12
    9:32 am

  54. It’s gotten to the point where every time I see a flash mob, I think “what are they trying to spruik now?”