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Posts Tagged ‘Ford’

As I discussed in an earlier post, Who’s testing the limits of social media?, Ford promoted its 2009 Euro-spec Fiesta through the social media influences of 100 twenty-somethings. The power was in the hands of the consumers- complete transparency into the functions of the Ford Fiesta- as they blogged, Tweeted, and made videos describing their experiences with the Ford Fiesta. Ford provided free gas to all of the “agents,” the people in charge of creating buzz, and in return they were given tasks each month to then create a “mission video.” Through this first Fiesta Movement, Ford saved millions of dollars by not reaching out to traditional methods of advertising and the exposure and awareness of the new Fiesta topped some models Ford had on the market for 2-3 years.

The first movement generated 6.2 million YouTube views, over 750,000 Flickr views and about 4 million Twitter impressions. Ford has gotten 6,000 reservations for the Fiesta, about half of which are from customers who did not previously own a Ford.

Since the Fiesta Movement worked so well the first time, Ford is attempting a second round to promote the 2011 model. This time around there will not be 100 individuals, but 20 teams of 2 agents and they are also trying to get the movement both on- and off-line. Ford knows that this second movement will not be able to break into as many new opportunities online, so they are trying to expand their awareness into communities. The teams of agents will be holding activities  Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Denver, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Orlando, Phoenix, Atlanta and Miami. There will be ways that the agent teams can engage their communities online as well as follow them throughout the program. Their goal for the community-based interaction is that it will reach demographics not on the social media networks and establish new conversations.

Ford allows you to watch videos people have made and even ask drivers questions. Here’s a video of a road trip with the Fiesta, and its drivers, in response to “Mission 1.”

It will be interesting to see how successful the second Fiesta movement will be, in relation to the first, and in the sales of the 2011 model. Will reaching out and interacting with the communities really generate more sales? Is it risky to try another round of a similar movement?

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As we all know by now, social media opens up new doors for businesses large and small; but who is pushing the limits and creating their own opportunities and becoming a “Big Brand” in the new world of social media?

Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” campaign promotes its blender and similar products on YouTube as a way to market in low cost manner. Tom Dickinson, the CEO, attempts to blend objects such as an iPhone, 50 marbles, an air soft gun with bee bees, all of which end up as dust. These videos are short, silly portrayals of how this blender will work with anything you throw into it. Blendtec’s YouTube videos, also Facebook and Twitter pages,  were successful in setting their products apart from others like it in a creative and innovative way using social media that resulted in positive feedback and increased business.

Burger King is another company that has been testing the waters of social media, and marketing in general for that matter. I’m sure you all have seen the string of “Whopper Virgin” commercials on TV and perhaps even visited the website; well, following this campaign they began a Facebook application where you could sacrifice 10 friends by removing them from your friends list, to win a free whopper. The application quickly gained over 20,000 users who sacrificed over 200,000 friends. However, because of privacy issues, Facebook had to take away the application. Burger King did use a different concept than social network users are used to though, because instead of inviting friends to the app or gaining new friends, which is what these networking sites are intended for, they had you delete friends to promote the legendary Whopper.

Another great example of testing social media is Ford when promoting their new Fiesta. They gave 100 people, in their twenties, each models of the car in hopes that they would share their experiences with it over a six month period. None of their volunteers had any experience with advertising and this tactic was especially more risky than those of Blendtec and Burger King, because they were not sending the messages, their customers were. This I think is the true nature of social media, allowing the audience to have control of the messages. Ford could have received a great amount of backlash and a huge tarnish on their reputation, but in this economy and struggling times, they sought to start from the bottom, let the people do the talking for them and hope for the best. It was complete transparency into their flaws and into the true “Ford experience.”

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