New Face Of Ford In Social Media With New Ad Campaign

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Advertising, Brand management, Social Media

Nowadays, it has become a rule that many brands are greatly using social media as a marketing strategy besides traditional advertising strategies. Before dropping the other shoe, they see how the land lies in social media. Regardless of the type of sector, brands from automobiles to textile are creating a new battleground in which they are competing against each other in order to take the biggest share of the market.

Recently, Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will focus on social media and other new advertising strategies for 2011 vehicles. At the Chicago Auto Show, Jim Farley, Marketing Chief for Ford, emphasized that the only online and mobile media grew in 2009 and 2010. He added that information is changing Ford’s marketing campaigns.

“With 500 million people on Facebook, we can reach more potential customers in a more personal way,” Farley said.

On the other hand, seeing social media as masterstroke cannot be a reasonable behaviour although social media can be an effective as an advertising tool. According to Derek Rucker, an associate professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, social media has its limits because companies will stil be fighting other advertisers for attention while using social media like Facebook.

“With a Super Bowl ad you know 100 million people are seeing that,” Rucker said. “You don’t know for sure how many people are seeing your online campaigns.”

After launching the redesigned 2011 Explorer through Facebook last summer, Ford’s sports utility vehicle now has roughly 140,000 fans. Even “Go Do” campaign, which emphasizes what people will do with an Explorer, was created in line with consumers’ feedback.

Now Ford is asking what “Go. Do. Adventure” customers would dream of if they could go anywhere in America for one week. “People don’t dream about fancy resort vacations like a few years ago,” Farley said. “They dream about cars and the road trip.”

Within this respect, the official company website and Ford Explorer’s Facebook page organize a competition that will accept consumer videos, essays and photo submissions. Winners will have their road trip paid for, complete with a camera crew that will not only record all the trips but also turn them into a one-hour TV special and individual short spots.

Futhermore, the new Focus is making debut in one month. Thanks to social media, Ford builds hype with the “Focus Rally”. Ford has organized an “ Amazing Race” style competition between two teams including six people for each team, racing across America in the 2012 Focus and completing “challenges” along the way. Consumers also follow their journey on Facebook, Twitter and Hulu by picking a team and participating in at-home challenges.

Like Rucker put into the words, using social media as a marketing strategy allows customers to feel more connected to the brand. “You no longer need to talk to [consumers], you need ways to engage them,” Rucker said. This easily can be seen in Ford case.

According to Farley, who regards Ford as not just a car company but a tech company, Ford will concentrate on other new media tools going forward, specifically mobile communication. For the sake of this aim, the company is focusing on vehicle-specific smartphone applications, such as a navigation app for the Explorer and fuel efficiency app for the Fiesta, one of Ford’s compact models.

After all, it seems that things get hot in this new battlefield, namely “social media”. Who wins, who loses? Who knows???

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