according to emily zager…

Expansive Companies, Expansive Outreach: Ford Motors

Posted on: October 17, 2009

As an advertising and PR major at Loyola University Chicago, I enjoy and have been trained to pay attention to the news of what companies are doing in relation to social media. However, I am not the biggest automobile enthusiast.  So how are these related? Well, Ford Motor’s recent activities has caught my attention.  David Kiley of Business Week wrote a great article yesterday (10/16) about the giant company and its recent endeavors involving marketing strategies and social media.

Vroom, vroom.

According to Kiley, “Ford Motor Co. this year will spend 25% of its marketing dollars on digital media, more than twice the amount spent by the industry.”  This program encompasses its Fiesta Movement. Kiley describes the “Fiesta Movement” as:

“a program that began in 2008, 18 months before the cars will actually arrive in dealerships. Ford gave 100 European Fiestas to people to drive and live with. The results of the blogging, Facebooking, Youtubing and Tweeting by those people, plus the echoing of those messages by the blogosphere, followers, etc. has been an eye opener.”

Kiley also explains:

“Ford isn’t saying what it’s cost on the program is. But it says that just the Fiesta Movement has created 11 million social networking impressions; five million engagements on social networks (people sharing and receiving); 11,000 videos have been posted; 15,000 Tweets (not including re-tweets), 13,000 photos. And the cars have been driven over one million real-world miles by the 100 participants.”

Let’s back up a bit. A quarter of its budget? In today’s bustling age of unfaltering innovation, technologies developing at warp speed and fading demand for print media, that acknowledgment puts a whole lot into a cohesive perspective, though I am not surprised.

The situation reminds me of an earlier post in which I blogged about large corporations and the digital age. In Ford’s case, the circumstances are one and the same – the power of social media can not be ignored; but when harnessed, tangible successes have an ability to arise.  This Ford Fiesta case does a great job showcasing a situation in which people want their voices heard – and the company makes it entirely possible. Ford took an active stance in the digital age by inviting people to the Fiesta Movement in 2008.  The company is hoping (and taking a risk) to see if their social media program experiment will lead to a harmonic reciprocity.

  • I discovered this clip from You Tube’s Fiestamovement page. The overview: “Ford built 100 Ford Fiestas in Germany for the 100 winners of the Ford Fiesta Movement. The 100 chosen drivers of the Fiesta Movement will be driving the car for 6 months with free gas, insurance and concierge.”  The video clip actually links to the site showcasing various hopefuls as well as the most viewed Fiesta Movement submissions on YouTube.
  • Ford Chief Engineer Steve Pintar illustrates the story of how the vehicle made its way into the United States:
  • This video was uploaded a couple of weeks ago but does a great job providing marketing insight for the Fiesta‘s hands-on social media campaign. The story’s summary is summarized around roughly the minute mark so this clip is short, sweet and to the point:

Side tidbit: I went onto Ford’s official Web site to explore. As of today, there are no direct mentions, pictures or clips of the Fiesta on its homepage. (Just a minor, interesting tidbit). Overall, I’m impressed at how hands-on this specific campaign has become.  Although Ford’s target audience lacks the “American Idol” ability to vote for their favorite contenders, this social media campaign puts a lot on the line but hopefully will receive the results its teams are aiming for. Ford is drawing its consumers in via social media network outlets, and definitely getting them talking in the process.

Check out the original Business Week article here.

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Emily received her BA in Advertising & Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago in May 2010. She is inquisitive by nature and loves to surround herself with new situations, people and the world around her.

Emily is a lifelong dancer, a current ballroom dance instructor, and lover of all things social media. She's currently searching for a new career opportunity in PR, event planning or advertising. Take a peek at her musings about media, branding & the PR indsutry.

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