Upcoming Ford Explorer ad shot on Manitoulin

A videographer with BBDO Toronto shoots a commercial for the 2020 Ford Explorer on a backroad near Providence Bay earlier this fall.

PROVIDENCE BAY – Manitoulin Island has found itself once again the set of a video shoot, with Ford Motor Company selecting the Providence Bay area as the backdrop for a new promotional campaign for its 2020 Explorer during an October shoot.

“Ontario is a beautiful province and we considered a number of locations before settling on Manitoulin Island as the right spot for this project,” said Nicole Gauthier, Ford of Canada’s SUV marketing communications manager, in a statement to The Expositor.

“We wanted to showcase the all-new 2020 Ford Explorer doing what it does best—exploring. And we felt that Manitoulin Island, one of Ontario’s most picturesque tourist destinations, was the perfect location to showcase the vehicle’s capabilities,” she said.

Photos provided by Ford from the shoot indicate that the vehicle in question is the new ST (sport technologies) trim, which is the high-performance variant available in select models. 

This is a new trim to the Explorer for the 2020 model year and it provides a twin-turbocharged three-litre V6 engine that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. That power hits the road through a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It can accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in roughly five seconds and it tops out at 230 kilometres per hour, though this reporter advises against testing that limit away from a track.

“Manitoulin Island was selected because of its varying, picturesque terrains ranging from pebbled beaches to rocky cliffs. It’s the perfect place to showcase the Ford Explorer’s features. Specifically, we did most of the shoot in Providence Bay and area,” said Ms. Gauthier.

A notification for the filming, which took place on October 26 and 27, states that the project was shooting “uncharted territories in Ontario which have not been ‘Google street viewed’ but would be of benefit to adventure seeks (sic)/travelers.”

The existence of the commercial was news to Manitoulin’s nearest Ford dealer, Northern Ford in Espanola.

“It’s a beautiful area, and it’s easy because it’s so untouched. There’s not a lot of co-ordinating to go through like you need to film in the city,” said Northern Ford president and general manager Aaron Scully.

Mr. Scully noted that other auto manufacturers have selected the Espanola-Manitoulin region for promotional shoots in years past, such as the General Motors commercial that was filmed in and around Little Current in 2017, similarly in late October.

He said that although there have been some delays in getting the new Explorers to lots, partially owing to growing pains following a massive production line overhaul, he has already sold one 2020 Explorer Platinum and has an ST model on its way, with a potential buyer already in line.

“They’re selling well. The new platform is unibody with rear-wheel drive (except in all-wheel drive models), an independent rear suspension and the great combination of the 10-speed automatic transmission and the two Ecoboost engines puts this one head and shoulders above the previous generation,” said Mr. Scully.

The production team said they had not finalized which media this ad would be shared across, but that it was expected to be in circulation for the first half of 2020.