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Ford Motor Co. partners with Disney on Ford Bronco reveal

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press

Disney will partner with Ford Motor Co. on the upcoming Ford Bronco reveal, the automaker confirmed Thursday.

Ford will unveil the all-new SUV "across Disney’s broadcast, cable, digital and streaming properties" on July 13, Ford said in a news release.

"Three custom three-minute films will air on ABC, ESPN and National Geographic, in each network’s first commercial break in the 8:00 p.m. EDT hour. All three films will be available on demand on Hulu the following day," the release said.

Jimmy Chin, a director, cinematographer and professional climber, is collaborating with Disney CreativeWorks to "co-create network reveal stories," Ford said.

Chin won an Oscar award in 2019 for his documentary film "Free Solo," a profile of the fearless rock climber Alex Honnold and his quest to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The video in the film is jawdropping.

Alex Honnold's quest to climb El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is chronicled in the documentary "Free Solo."

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“Ford Bronco is an icon that has captured people’s imaginations and inspired them to explore the most remote corners of America and the world since the 1960s,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer, in prepared remarks.

“As a new era for Bronco begins, we’re proud to tap the strengths of epic adventurers like Jimmy Chin and Disney storytellers to help bring Bronco to life and inspire millions of people to get out into the wild.”

Rita Ferro, president of Disney advertising sales, said in a statement, “At Disney, we take pride in creating culture and leveraging our unrivaled portfolio of brands to authentically and creatively tell stories during meaningful moments."

With Ford, she said, Disney is "reimagining what a product reveal can look like by drawing upon our best-in-class sports, entertainment and streaming brands to bring the new Bronco family to life in a way that honors its heritage and gives viewers an unforgettable experience.” 

Ford announced the news within hours of the second-quarter sales report, which is expected to be grim. On Wednesday, GM sales were down 34% and Fiat Chrysler sales dipped 39% following a two-month industry shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford changed the date of its Bronco reveal last month following concern the original July 9 date would spotlight the birthday of O.J. Simpson

Simpson, a former football star, is known internationally for being in a white Ford Bronco that aired on live TV leading a massive police chase on June 17, 1994, after being charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. 

Ford said the original date was unintentional and when making the change explained, "We wanted to be sensitive and respectful."

The Bronco, which was built from 1966 to 1996, is poised to challenge Jeep among off-road adventure seekers in the fast-growing SUV segment.

While "Jeep dominates" the popular off-road vehicle market, Ford is strategically planning to steal customers from Fiat Chrysler, Farley told Wall Street analysts in June.

Ford has kept hidden the design of its upcoming new model. However, the company has indicated that the Bronco R, a racing prototype already unveiled, hints at the design of the upcoming Bronco.

Ford’s Bronco R race prototype debuts in the desert to celebrate 50th anniversary of Rod Hall’s historic Baja 1000 win, an overall victory in a 4x4 that’s never been duplicated in 50 years.

"This is our opportunity," Farley said at the 2020 Global Auto Industry Conference hosted by Deutsche Bank.

Actor Denis Leary hosted the online-only reveal of the 2021 Ford F-150 June 25.

“Times like these call for new and different ways to reach people with new vehicle intros," said Jennifer Flake,  Bronco is all about connecting people to something bigger – getting back to the wild – so it makes perfect sense to go where massive audiences are, working with Disney to reach them everywhere from their living rooms to their small screens.”

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512 or phoward@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford Bronco: Disney partners with automaker for SUV reveal on July 13