11 January 2010

Social Marketing on the skids.

There’s a piece in BusinessWeek about social marketing (whatever that means) for the Ford Fiesta:

How Ford Got Social Marketing Right
imageThe idea was: let's go find twenty-something YouTube storytellers who've learned how to earn a fan community of their own. [People] who can craft a true narrative inside video, and let's go talk to them. And let's put them inside situations that they don't get to normally experience/document. Let's add value back to their life. They're always looking, they're always hungry, they're always looking for more content to create. I think this gets things exactly right.

Hmmm.  Twenty-somethings only.  I guess they forgot about this:

What Next From The Crystal Ball of Common Sense?
image My point three years ago was that Baby Boomers were buying up those mid-priced boxy cars (even though they were being marketed to college kids and twenty-somethings) because they were easy to get in and out of, easy to see out of, and some had large dashboards that were easy to read. So why not build cars with these and more features for older drivers? And market them as such?

Back to the promotion: YouTube ‘storytellers’ get free cars for six months (or forever, it’s not clear) and drive around, videotaping their exploits.

Sounds like a jingle writing contest to me.  Not that social marketing or jingle writing contests are bad things.  They’re okay things.

Here’s one of the Ford Fiesta jingles getting attention:

Fine.  But for crazy antics, sound effects, and music -  I prefer Spike Jones:

More from the BusinessWeek article:

The effects of the campaign were sensational … Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales. The results came at a relatively small cost. The Fiesta Movement is reputed to have cost a small fraction of the typical national TV campaign.

Except … as a commenter noted:

image There is a major blunder in the article: "The effects of the campaign were sensational... Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales." In fact, the Fiesta is not yet on sale outside Europe and Asia, and no potential customer has so much as driven a US-spec model. The referenced "sales" are most likely the non-binding, no-deposit reservations made on the Fiesta website. The cars used in the campaign were European-market loaners, and we'll have to wait a few months to see how many North Americans actually buy the car.

Yes, we’ll have to wait and see. We’ll also have to wait and see how long Ford waits (after cars are in lots) before they decide to do what they do in England … making the Fiesta a top seller.  It’s called advertising:

And when it comes to viral videos of the Ford Fiesta – here’s the most popular one of all – uploaded and ‘remixed’ by dozens of ‘citizen marketers’ and seen by millions:

Ford Fiesta

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