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Interviews
“Ford’s social media approach is about Real People, Real Experiences”
16 March 2012
Established in 1995, Ford India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., a global automotive industry leader. Ford India manufactures and distributes automobiles and engines made at its modern integrated manufacturing facility at Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai. The company's models include the Endeavour, Fiesta and the Figo.


Ford recently promoted its new Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic with an influencer marketing campaign. The idea was to offer an extended test drive to select auto enthusiasts who had a strong online influence so that they could describe their experience through social media and expel myths about automatic cars. The activation was held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on March 3.


In a conversation with EVENTFAQS, Deeptie Sethi, Head of Communications, Ford India, discussed in detail about Ford's social media approach of ‘Real People, Real Experiences' and the #FiestaHotWheels activity.


What was the objective behind the activation?


Ford's social media approach is about ‘Real People, Real Experiences' and the #FiestaHotWheels event was an embodiment of the same, wherein avid car lovers from different walks of life came together to experience the recently launched Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic and share their experiences with their online peer groups.


In a market like India, where manual transmission is the mainstay, there are several perceptions associated with automatic cars viz. automatics aren't fun to drive, automatics are expensive, etc.


The Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic is a trendsetter in the category of automatic transmission cars and serves as a myth-buster with several first-in-segment and best-in-class offerings like zero maintenance for 10 years or 2,40,000 kms, India's most fuel efficient automatic among petrol automatic sedans above four metres in length, with a fuel economy of 16.97 kmpl as per ARAI, and advanced technology and features such as a six-speed dual-clutch, Ford Hill/Grade Assist, creep function, voice activated controls, cruise control, etc.


This offered us the opportunity to provide a platform for consumers and car enthusiasts to discover the brilliant product truths and dispel the common perceptions associated with automatic transmission cars. When real people are saying things they believe in, it comes across as being very credible. And that's the key.


How did you go about the activation?


To make it more exciting for the real users, we chose the Buddh International Circuit as the venue. We wanted the people to not only experience the car but also have a fun, Fiesta day out on a Saturday and take back memories.


So, Fiesta Hot Wheels was conceptualised for March 3 and we anticipated a fantabulous day, which it turned out to be. India's top online/social media influencers and avid car lovers were invited to be a part of the event. WPP's global team for Ford and Blogworks' social media team executed the activation.


The track was customised to create tasks for the drivers that allowed them to discover the key product attributes. The idea was to offer the consumers an extended test drive with simulations of day-to-day experiences, such as city traffic, and yet make it all the more fun and engaging for them to talk about the experience and their feedback about the car.


To make the content more sharable, we installed RFID readers that replicated the Facebook and Twitter online experience in the offline world, and allowed users to seamlessly share their experiences with their social media peer groups.


There were various fun activity corners such as a caricature console, augmented reality console, etc to keep the influencers engaged while they waited for their turn to test drive the all new Ford Fiesta Powershift Automatic on the tracks of the Buddh International Circuit.


Thrilled by the event experience and excited at having witnessed their myths about automatic transmission cars being dispelled through their driving experience, these active social media participants initiated a steady flow of conversations across their social networks, thus driving the event #FiestaHotWheels to go trending on Twitter throughout the duration of the event and even later through the day.


How did you promote the event?


The event invitees, being active social media participants with a strong online influence, were driving the social media conversations about their experience and their feedback on the product.


Cross-promoted across Ford's social channels, other engagement touch points such as RFID readers that replicated the online social media experiences in the offline world and allowed users to easily share content across their social networks also helped to drive visibility for the activity.


How many people did you engage through this event?


The event was primarily targeted at avid car lovers and active social media participants who have a strong online influence. Via Twitter, we were able to reach over 164,612 users on Twitter gaining an impression (gross number of users who were exposed to messages/mentions) of 3,232,624.


More importantly, it's not just about the volume of the tweets or the impressions gained - it's the mood and the positive nature of that communication that says - yes this was a great thing to do because it's a great way of sharing with everyone what people's experiences are - and that's real people telling real stories!


Ford's approach of "Real People, Real Experiences" is sustained across all activities and campaigns undertaken by the company.



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