February 10, 2011
Ford’s Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing, sales and service, announced the new “Go.Do. Adventures” multi-media campaign for the 2011 Explorer, which was unveiled on Facebook last July.
The automaker is asking people for ideas on how they would use an Explorer to create their own adventure. Submissions can be made at several websites via videos, photos or essays.
“Ford has reinvented the Explorer, and with this new campaign we’re inviting consumers to be just as inventive by coming up with their ultimate adventure,” said Farley, the keynote speaker at the Chicago Auto Show’s traditional opening breakfast.
The people who send in the best ideas will be allowed to live their adventure for a week in an all-new Explorer. All of the action will be captured and documented on www.Facebook.com/FordExplorer. Eventually all of the content will be made into a one-hour television special.
The move is Ford’s latest play in the social media space, where it set the bar with the pre-launch and launch for the all-new Fiesta. Roughly 25% of the automaker’s ad budget last year was spent in digital media. That will be true this year as well, but the digital dollars will grow as Ford’s overall ad spending grows, Farley told AutoTrader.
Less than half of Americans trust business to do what is right and consumers now expect companies to be more transparent, Farley said. “Ford gets it and we’re playing for keeps in a highly competitive new space.”
Social media builds more trust, often more than traditional media because it’s more authentic, he added. Farley did concede that the downside to social media is “people can say whatever they want” about your brand.
Ford just launched a new social-media effort for the new Focus, advertising with a pair of TV commercials during the Super Bowl’s Pre-Kick programming to encourage viewers to go to www.focusrally.com. People at home can pick one of six teams in the Focus Rally:America and help them travel cross country and compete in challenges by using social media.
Farley said the rally “takes audience interactivity to a new level.”
For the new Explorer, Ford took the unusual move last summer of unveiling it on Facebook. Since then, Farley said, the Explorer’s Facebook page has attracted more than 138,000 fans.
People who “like” the Explorer on Facebook can also get real-time answers from Ford experts, plus video responses from engineers and celebrities like Snoop Dog and Bret Michaels.
Look for Ford to move into mobile communications next. “Mobile phone advertising can be a great way to connect with someone one-on-one,” Farley said. Smart marketers need to offer apps that bring value and relevance to the brand or product. Ford may do a fuel-efficiency app for the Fiesta or a navigation app for the Explorer, he said.
“It is very important that we continue to explore new, forward-thinking solutions like these because today Ford is not just a car company, we are a technology company.”
JEAN HALLIDAY is a seasoned journalist with the nation’s longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean’s blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.