Remember a year or two ago when Ford came out with the 'Bold Moves' tagline? Remember how they were widely mocked for not really making any bold moves? It's ironic because the struggling carmaker has finally come up with an initiative that matches its now retired tagline.
For the next 6 months, 100 hand-picked 20-30 year olds across the United States will be driving a new Ford Fiesta for free. The move is designed to build awareness for the re-launched Fiesta, which will debut in U.S. early next year. The 100 winners were picked based on certain factors, especially their level of activity on social sites and with social media. In fact, I first found out about this idea because of reading Ms Single Mama's tweets about being selected to receive one of the vehicles. The group's proficiency in creating social content is no doubt a big reason for their selection.
Ford's Scott Monty goes into more detail about the strategy for picking the 100 winners here:
"We not only used characteristics of online social vibrancy to select our agents, but we also looked at geographical dispersion. If you go to http://www.fiestamovement.com, you can browse through the agents based on their proximity to you.
In addition, we’ll be taking 40 Fiestas around the country between now and the end of the year, hitting 100 cities and attempting to get 100,000 people in the vehicle for test drives/rides. Not to mention that the agents will be taking their vehicles out in public locations and sharing the experience offline."
Now for the big question; Will this work?
One thing that seems certain is that the Fiesta Movement will raise awareness of the Fiesta in advance of its U.S. debut next year. And given that the 100 'agents' selected are apparently all active in social media, that should create a good deal of buzz online for the Fiesta. At least at first.
But can that buzz be built as the 6-month campaign unfolds, and leveraged into something larger and as a more meaningful way for Ford to connect with their potential (and later current) customers? So many 'social media campaigns' are designed to build awareness and excitement, but never follow through on the increased interest that's generated. Does Ford have a plan in place to capitalize on the awareness that it hopes to create for the 2010 Fiesta over the next few months?
That remains to be seen, and could ultimately decide the end effectiveness of this initiative.
UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for the great comments. Also, Ford's Scott Monty also goes into greater detail into this campaign and what went into the strategy behind it.