Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Carz I - Can Ford Make the Fiesta Cool?

One of the car sites called it “the ultimate social media experiment.” Basically, it’s giving 100 lucky people the opportunity to take a six-month long test drive. The car won’t be available in the US until 2010, so 100 German-built cars are being used for in the Fiesta Movement campaign.

According to Ad Age, about 4,000 people applied online to take part in the program. The cars weren’t scheduled to be delivered until the first week in May, but the happy recipients are already blogging, Twittering, posting videos to YouTube—in other words, doing exactly what Ford wants them to do!
The home page of the Fiesta Movement site is a live feed of photos, Tweets, blog posts, whatever! It’s fun, and the users provide a spirit totally absent from the typical corporate site. Each “agent” has his or her own page to display all their content. There’s also a page for monthly “missions” starting in May. Road rallys, other events? It will be worth watching what they do to keep the interest up and the buzz alive! Of course, there are opportunities to share any/all of this content and a registration page if you want to be kept informed (lead generation, anyone?).

It will also be interesting to see what Ford does in 2010 when the Fiesta is introduced in the US. Will they have a large, traditional TV advertising campaign? Or will they continue to feed off the social media foundation they are laying?

The auto brands that aren’t busy just surviving are doing interesting things to reach people in more direct, personal ways. They have long known how to generate and nurture sales leads through the conversion cycle. They are learning how to generate leads in social media. I’m willing to bet that the ROI on the social media investment (cars included) would compare favorably with that of traditional mass media advertising. Ford won’t tell, but time will. If we see more social media campaigns as the focal point of marketing strategy, we’ll know it’s not only working but that it’s cost effective.

The message seems to be getting around the industry—more to come!

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