Ford is leveraging the fact that Elba worked at a Ford factory in the UK before his acting career took off. “My dad also worked at Ford. It’s practically in my blood. So working on this project and getting behind the wheel of a car that takes us all towards the future feels like things are coming full circle, but with more exhilaration and tech,” he said in a statement supplied by Ford.
In addition to participating in vehicle launch activities around the L.A. Auto Show, Elba will appear in a global integrated marketing campaign from BBDO, Andy Georgescu, a Ford product marketing manager, said in an interview. BBDO was named Ford’s lead global creative agency last year.
Georgescu declined to reveal details about the crossover, which Ford has simply described at “Mustang-inspired.”
“When we first started talking about electrification, there was this thought that there had to be a trade-off: It was either going to be green and boring and no fun, or really exciting but burn a lot of fossil fuels,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said at a business lunch hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business earlier this year. “Electrification has come to the point that you can do both.”
Georgescu said Ford targeted Elba because “he’s a singular talent” with “great substance” who can “really effectively tell the story in whatever role he plays.”
The actor is known for playing Nelson Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom” as well as starring in the critically acclaimed TV series “The Wire.” This year he starred in “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” and he is set to appear in the forthcoming “Cats” movie based on the Broadway musical.
In media interviews, Elba has frequently talked about his experiences working the night shift at Ford’s plant in Dagenham, near London. In a speech in 2016 in which he criticized the entertainment industry for lack of diversity, he said “Ford Dagenham turned out to have more opportunity and more diversity than the TV industry I was trying to break into,” according to an account in a London area news publication.