Ogilvy & Mather has produced a TV, press and poster campaign that exploits the relationship between drivers and their transits, which are often a vital part of their livelihood or trade.
The aim of the advertising is to differentiate the Connect from the larger transit and to establish its credentials as a tough and reliable alternative to rival light van offerings from Citroen and Renault.
MindShare is handling media buying, which will target a largely blue collar audience via a heavy presence during Sky TV's football coverage, mass consumption programmes on ITV and the tabloid press.
The "van of steel" tagline is launched in a 30-second TV commercial in which a group of hammer-wielding workers appears to create a transit Connect out of a block of steel.
The advertising breaks on Monday, running on national TV for four weeks.
The TV initiative will be backed by 96-, 48- and six-sheet posters. A roll-out into Germany, Spain and Turkey will follow in the coming months and will be extended to the rest of Ford's European markets next spring.
Steve Parker, the commercial vehicles director at Ford of Britain, said: "We wanted an ad that conveyed both pride and toughness."
The TV and print campaigns were written by John Kelley and Peter Sugden respectively, and art directed by Terry Holben. The TV ad was directed by Doug Foster through Blink Productions. Photography for the print and outdoor campaign was by Jack Bankhead.