The brand had a strong fan base and presence in the Social Media, but as competition got harder and its leadership position started to shatter it was not enough anymore. Yes, it is great that so and so many people “like” Ford in Facebook and so and so many people “follow” Ford in Twitter, but will these people ever buy the car? How could the brand take advantage of the existing database and push their target group one step closer to the actual purchase?
When buying a car, one of the very important steps in the buying process is the test drive. But let’s face it: test drive consists usually of sales brochures, cold sales floors and a little drive around the block. Boring. Therefore Ford decided it was time to rethink the process “outside the dealership”, contacted House Party and decided to integrate Social Media with the real world by taking advantage of the Social Media influencers to create buzz and hosting a real life house party for thousands.
The chosen target group was “predominantly 24-45-years-old female American Idol watchers with favourable opinions of Ford and who own either a Ford, Toyota or Honda.” Weird combination for sure for a target group, yet American Idol is highly popular in U.S. nationwide reaching millions of potential customers. Ford also happens to be one of the sponsors.
Having a party around a car is nice, but tying it in with the show to increase the attendance was brilliant. The idea was that the selected hosts invite their friends, families, neighbours and co-workers to their own house parties on the night of the American Idol finale. Local Ford dealers loan the new Ford to party hosts for the evening letting guests to test drive/experience the car with friends in a fun, natural environment. Taking advantage of Ford’s large Social Media database, target audience influencers were found and engaged, party packs were sent and parties coincided with the American Idol finale.
Did it work? Yes.
- Total reach of 2,043,504 people.
- 10,000 people opted-in to being contacted by Ford.
- 60% of hosts and 51% of guests said they would consider purchasing a Ford Fusion as their next car, up from 26% and 21% respectively.
The Social Media is great way to build the database and get in touch and stay in contact with the consumer, yet nothing wins the real life contact between the brand and the consumer. Integrating the two worlds is very powerful, creating a real life experience with the brand for the consumer. Especially if the consumer happens to be a strong influencer, the positive buzz will affect more potential buyers and in this case push them to test drive the Ford themselves.