Why I think the Ford Fiesta Movement rocks (and no, I’m not an “Agent”)
02 September 2009
This is an update on an previous entry on my blog “Ford Fiesta Movement Calling for Agents – but are they agents of change?”
In April, Ford tapped 100 top bloggers and gave them a Ford Fiesta for six months as part of a huge blogger engagement program. To enter people had to upload a video that demonstrated why they would be the best ‘Agent’ – ie who had the largest network to tap both online via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, as well as offline. The 100 successful “Agents” were provided a loaner Ford Fiesta and have since been given missions to complete – all cleverly featuring the Ford Fiesta – which they capture and share via their social networks. From what I can see the program was designed to stimulate grass roots hype online, and as well as allow Ford to participate in authentic conversations about the new model.
I think this campaign is great – I loved it in April and now I really love it! Here’s why:
- It exemplifies best practice social media engagement in a clever, and yet authentic way. In a time when brands are cautiously stepping into an important new engagement model – a very personal and direct model which couldn’t be more different than traditional advertising methods – Ford has proven a brand can authentically and successfully stimulate online conversation. While there was a little controversy surrounding ‘cash for comment’ initially, many of the participants and other social media advocates stood by the genuine approach of Ford – in no way does Ford control the content so if someone is unhappy with the car they are free to say so, and it is pretty up front what the arrangement is for any one who runs across this content. Not sure how many people would bag out a free car (no such thing as a bad free car my stepdad said when I was begging for my Mustang Convertible when I turned 16!) but from a marketers perspective who likes to control product messages it would still be risky. Really, it is a simple and yet innovative concept – one I believe may (including myself) will replicate parts of. One vlogger sums it up here, she thinks Ford does it best as they have allowed her to feel she is part of something bigger, not just selling out to get free stuff.
NB read more from Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford in today’s USA Today story here. Follow Scott Monty on Twitter (@ScottMonty) - not quite the Ashton Kutcher level but a Social Media celeb indeed.
- Ford Fiesta Movement is delivering huge results proving that social media is an indispensable business tool. Recently (July 2009) Ford released initial impressions from the campaign including: more than 2.2 million YouTube views, more than 312,000 Flickr views and more than 2 million Twitter impressions, resulting in more than 13.4 million impressions. This highlights how social media is progressed beyond a niche channel – even given different non-youth audiences – and when done well actually drives mass impressions. Obviously I would like to see some more Social measurements that showcase the impact of the conversation, sentiment, changes in brand perception perhaps – but most don’t necessarily reveal that information (well, unless an agency is trying to win an award). I add that the ‘missions’ are a clever way to integrate key messages. In one instance, “Agent Joe” is tasked with filling up the gas tank of his Fiesta (a fuel efficient car) and driving until he runs out of gas. He makes it 432.5 miles.
- The Hub and Spoke model in practice, a strategic approach to managing an online brand presence. The Ford Fiesta Movement site – or Live Feed they call it - is a great example of what I call the ‘tentacle’ approach (others call it many things, this is not an original theory) – which is about having a strategic presence in many different social networks and online platforms, and aggregating that content back on your own site. This approach empowers people to spread the word for you, and takes into account that people engage on various social networks in different ways. To truly harness the power of social media (key word being social) we need to understand the ecosystem of how people play online, and at the center is where we should sit. When managed strategically and integrating insight derived from key word research, these conversations can be an important factor in driving web site optimisation – a hugely influential piece of the online marketing pie. This is a great reason why Social Media should not be executed in silos with a couple random people on computers punching out tweets – we as an industry need to move beyond this idea and show how we can integrate Social Media activity to deliver back to the business (see point Number 2 above).
So in summary the campaign is great because it’s innovative, strategic and delivers results – what more can we ask for?
I have one thing to say to Ford, Scott Monty and the others behind it – wish I had thought of that…..