Ford’s “Fiesta Movement” Campaign

Ford's "Fiesta Movement" CampaignA year before the U.S. launch of the Ford Fiesta, Ford imported 100 Fiestas from Europe and gave them to 100 online influencers (dubbed “agents”) for six months, provided that they post an update about their experience with the car at least once per month.

The 100 influencers were chosen based on their blogging experience, social network, and a video they submitted about their desire for adventure.  Ford selected the 100 participants from a pool of 4,000 publicly-available submission videos – which had been viewed a total of 640,000 times before the hundred winners were announced – by creating a “social vibrancy” rating based on how much they were followed online and across how many platforms, and an overall grade based on those factors plus creativity, video skills, and their ability to hook a viewer within the first 5-10 seconds.

After six months, the campaign had millions of YouTube and Twitter impressions, over 500,000 Flickr views, and 50,000 potential customers, 97% of whom didn’t already own a Ford.

The buzz from the “Fiesta Movement” campaign was so successful that Ford used many of the same techniques for its Ford Focus launch.  Total spend on the campaign was about 1/10th of what they would have spent on a traditional advertising campaign to reach the same audience.

Some examples of videos by the agents that were chosen for the campaign:

Fiesta vs. Lamborghini: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7-qh0S6jmI

The Changing Media Landscape

The largest changes in marketing spend over the past five years have been reallocating advertising budget from traditional media to new media outlets and shifting focus from transaction-based marketing to building product/service reputation.

In 2010, during an interview with Jim Farley (Ford’s VP of Global Marketing) in Marketing Week, he explained how these changes had already began taking shape after the success of the Ford “Fiesta Movement” campaign: “Three years ago, digital would mean being on a buying site where you compare competitor prices and used values. Today, digital presence is more about favorable opinion… We’ve changed our digital spend from transactional marketing to building the reputation of the products. We’re taking resources away from TV, or even variable marketing incentives, to fund earned media.”

In predicting the integration of PR functions into overall marketing campaigns, he said: “The biggest trend over the next five years is in public relations; it will move from a concierge, introductory business to the most important promotional aspect of a company’s business. PR’s function holds the keys to authentic media, content that people really trust.”