Ford Plans to Build on the Success of its “Fiesta Movement” Viral Marketing Campaign

Following what it considers an overwhelming success in viral marketing this year, Ford Motor Company has announced that it plans to launch another phase of its Fiesta Movement campaign in early 2010.

Earlier this year Ford’s Fiesta Movement campaign leveraged the power of online video and viral marketing to increase awareness of its newly redesigned Fiesta small car which is being revived after nearly a 20 year absence in the U.S.

Ford provided 100 of the Euro-spec vehicles to young drivers across the U.S. and asked that they use YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to share their impressions and experiences.

Participants in the campaign created and posted twice the number of online videos the automaker had expected and viewership reached 3.5 million. According to Ford, the campaign delivered on its intended goal by generating 38% awareness among the target audience comprised of 16- to 24-year-olds.

Ford now plans to build on that heightened awareness with a second phase of the campaign designed to showcase the Fiesta’s features.

During the second phase of Fiesta Movement twenty teams, located in major U.S. metropolitan areas, will use their Fiestas to complete various missions (a la The Amazing Race reality series). Team members will be selected from markets where small cars have historically sold well according to Ford group vice president of global marketing, James Farley.

Speaking at last month’s Los Angeles Auto Show, Farley said, “The first message was, ‘There’s this car called Fiesta, and it’s cool. Now we’re going to show what Fiesta does differently from Yaris, Fit and Corolla.”

Farley, who before coming onboard with Ford was instrumental in the launch of Toyota’s Scion brand, admits that he was skeptical of social network marketing of the Fiesta. He says his skepticism arose from the fear that Ford would not execute the campaign properly.

I was worried that we would do what Pontiac did with Oprah, where it would turn into a giveaway and we wouldn’t get anything out of it,” he said in a reference to Chrysler’s 2004 give-away of 267 Pontiac G6’s to members of Oprah Winfrey’s studio audience.

He has since become a believer. He says the Fiesta Movement resulted in 5.9 million YouTube views and 3.3 million Twitter impressions. He also quips, “We had one car stolen, a couple wrecked and a few stains we can’t identify.”

Despite the success of its foray into social network marketing, Ford is also aware of its inherent limitations and does not intend to put all its eggs in the viral marketing basket. Small, fuel-efficient cars are popular among budget-conscious consumers of all ages “ not just members of the 16- to 24-year-old demographic.

Ford also plans to advertise the Fiesta through traditional media outlets including television, radio and print. “We will use traditional media, but the messages will be different. Farley said.

He jokingly added, We know it’s OK to sell to old people, too.”

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