12 January 2010

2010 Ford Fusion Launches with American Idol Houseparty

Ford Motor Company* has been receiving some really good press about about My Ford Touch (video demo here), which was shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show last week. Ford has been leading the automobile industry in building intelligence into automotive systems, but it's also pretty progressive when it comes to social marketing.

For example, I attended an interesting presentation by HouseParty during the WOMMA Summit last November that covered how Ford leveraged an existing sponsorship with American Idol to drive customer conversations and brand immersion across the social Web. The HouseParty case study made me think of a tupperware party on steroids, but the results were quite intriguing.

Ford's marketing challenge
Launch the 2010 Ford Fusion beyond using only traditional methods of TV, print, radio and out-of-home advertising and marketing campaigns. Go beyond dealerships, but ignite interest at a grassroots level, in consumer homes.

Ford's marketing goals
  • Generate mass awareness, interest and excitement around the all-new 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid
  • Provide opportunities for consumers to experience the product
  • Deliver test drives to the doorsteps of interested consumers (versus relying solely on dealership traffic)
  • Cultivate intent to purchase before the car is generally available
  • Generate hand-raisers and opt-ins for Ford to contact in the future
  • Activate online word of mouth (WoM) buzz
Ford American Idol House Party
Ford already had plans to broadcast branded in-show segments throughout the season. Partnering with HouseParty enabled the company to engineer in-home parties with an online activation component in conjunction with the season finale of American Idol. Family and friends could not only gather to watch the first night of the 2-day TV show finale, but would also get a first-hand look at the Ford Fusion.

Here's how it worked:

  • HouseParty helped Ford create a custom, Ford-branded micro-site with full disclosure and rules for the Ford/American Idol house party
  • 2-3 months before the event, party planners applied via the micro-site (also know as "Party Central") to host a Fusion-centered party
  • 1000 party planners were selected across the country (9000 applied); those selected tended to be viral "super fans" of Ford and American Idol, females in their late twenties with a high social profile, online viral propensity
  • Each party planner was asked to invite 10+ friends to their in-home Ford Fusion party
  • Each party planner had access to the Ford micro-site, where they could connect with other party planners, share tips, view a map of all house party locations and receive other Ford-branded content
  • Each party planner was entered into the "Idol Rocks. Ford Rolls" sweepstakes where guests could vote for their hosts to win an extra entry into the sweepstakes (I forget the prize, sorry!)
  • Each party planner received a custom party pack of branded materials, including a tote bag, 50 napkins, 15 plates, 15 coasters, 15 cups, etc., and Ford Fusion info sheets
  • 2/3 of all party planners received a DVD with exclusive Ford and American Idol content featuring a day in the life of Ace Young (an American Idol contestant), during which he drove around the Fusion Hybrid and pointed out his favorite features of the vehicle
  • 1/3 of all party planners were given a 2010 Ford Fusion delivered to their doorstep for an entire weekend so they could truly experience the car in person without a car salesperson around
Ford's metrics
Among total social media impressions and consumer-generated media generated by the campaign in the form of tweets, photos, videos, blogs and more, Ford tracked and measured (in hours) time spent with the brand, including all party planning time, party duration, test drives and DVD views. For example, (1,000 hosts x # of hours spent planning the party) + (16,000 guests x 3-4 hours per party) = # of hours spent with the product as well as viral WoM spread offline and across the Web.

Specific campaign results included:
  • Reach:
    • Over 79,000 hours of brand exposure
    • Over 2.6 million Web and social media impressions, including 69% of hosts and 39% of guests mentioning the party on Facebook, 29% of hosts and 14% of guests mentioning the party on MySpace
    • Approximately 80,000 hours of brand exposure (offline = 60K party hours, 9K planning hours)
    • 380,000 page views on the micro-site
  • Awareness & Attitude:
    • Awareness lift: 29-30 points
    • Favorability lift: 10-24 points
    • Advocacy (likelihood to recommend) lift: 19-25 points
    • Purchase Intent Lift: 12 points (and apparently, 3 people purchased the car from their respective parties)
  • Activation:
    • Over 10,000 opt-ions to be contacted by Ford
    • Free Trials: over 5,700 free trials (test drives in this case)
    • Over 8,900 DVD views
  • Overall:
    • More than 6,300 people experienced a Ford Fusion in person
    • Total of 2M+ impressions for the brand
    • Lots of blogs posts, Flickr photos, YouTube videos, micro-site downloads and more
I found this case study impressive because of the radical change Ford brought to the experience of test driving a new car. Perhaps even more impressive, Ford was able to target and interact with women through this campaign! Car dealerships do not have the best reputation with women, but Ford was able to get around that by bringing the products to them in a social setting. Pretty cool, huh?

*Note: Ford Motor Company is a client of Ogilvy Public Relations. This blog post in no way represents the views or opinions of Ford.


Craig Oda said...

Your blog is getting better and better. You're putting a lot of work into it. I'm definitely reading it more now compared to six months ago.


Hi Craig,

Thanks for the comment. I have been slow to blog in the past few months and am trying to pick it up again in 2010 as I continue to gain more experience and exposure to how brands are utilizing social media for PR and marketing. Thank you for stopping by!


John Benson said...

Hi Jenna
I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.