Ford is following up the social-media launch of the 2011 Explorer and a current blog-centric test-drive program for the F-150 pickup with a world-wide program supporting the next-generation Focus car.
The test-drive program invites bloggers, people with popular social media pages and lots of Facebook friends to apply to participate in a global consumer test drive program for its Focus and then to talk about the car online.
The company will bring 100 people to Europe in early ’11 — when the car launches — to spend two days driving the car and learning about it. Ford will select them through a Facebook application. The company announced the program on Thursday at the Paris Motor Show. The car launches in the U.S. The program, “Focus Global Test Drive — Start More Than a Car” starts after the Paris Motor Show with the company accepting applications at the “Global Drive” tab at Ford’s Facebook page for Focus.
Applicants have to submit a video clip to the Facebook page explaining why they should be selected to be part of the event and how they would benefit a charitable cause cause in their community with a donation from Ford. Each driver will be awarded the local-market equivalent of $10,000 (USD) for a charitable cause, with up to $500,000 (USD) in total contributions around the world. The company says it will choose participants based on a combination of their reach in social networks, content creation skills and volume of “likes” generated, among other factors. Ford also will invite established bloggers and online influencers.
Ford has used social media based programs to good effect since launching the Fiesta in the U.S. by giving social mavens European spec vehicles well before the American versions hit showrooms. The Fiesta Movement program had several iterations involving different cohorts of people — Fiesta “Agents” — who got the cars for six-month stints and had to blog about the cars while getting assignments from Ford that involved road trips and Apprentice-style local-market projects to promote the car. [continue on page 2]