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Ford Goes Social for Focus

5 Oct, 2010 By: Jackie Jones

DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. is focusing on a social media strategy for the launch of its 2011 Explorer, following up a current blog-centric test-drive program for the F-150 pickup with a worldwide program supporting the newest Focus car.

The test-drive program invites bloggers and social media users – most notably those with a large number of Facebook friends – to participate in a global consumer test-drive program for its Focus. Consumers are then encouraged to discuss the car online, all while raising money for their favorite charities in the process.

“The Global Test Drive gives us an opportunity to reach out to consumers around the world and involve them in the launch of our new Focus while giving to their local charity,” said Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “We’ve learned through our previous social media initiatives that turning the brand over to consumers early on helps build awareness and interest in the product.”

Ford will select 100 people through a Facebook application and bring them to Europe early next year to test-drive the car when it launches. Applicants must submit a video to Facebook explaining why they should be part of the event and how they would benefit a charitable cause in their community.

Ford enacted the 100-person limit to allow the automobile marketer to offer drivers the local equivalent of $10,000 for a charitable cause, with up to $500,000 in total contributions around the world.

“When you think about the charitable element – putting dollars against each individual – we had to cut it off somewhere. So we are both giving people access to the vehicle before it is available to the public, but also making good on a promise to contribute to a better world,” said Scott Monty, who heads social-media programs at Ford.

Participants will be chosen based on their reach in social networks, creativity of their video submissions and the total “likes” generated. The Focus Global Test Drive event will take place February 2011 in southern Europe.

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