Ford partners with Zynga to reach young consumers

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Company has partnered with social gaming platform Zynga to target tech-savvy, young audiences for the debut of the 2013 Ford Escape.

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Company has partnered with social gaming platform Zynga to target tech-savvy, young audiences for the debut of the 2013 Ford Escape.

The company will reveal the 2013 Escape on Tuesday night through Zynga's Words with Friends game, which has more than 10 million users, said Scott Monty, global digital and multimedia communications manager at Ford. The company is encouraging fans across North America to play the game on Tuesday night to view the new model.  

“We knew we wanted to do something big to announce the reveal of the 2013 Ford Escape. We've had a history of doing pretty groundbreaking and public things with regard to some of our vehicle reveals in the past, most noticeably the use of Facebook to reveal the 2011 Ford Explorer,” he said.

Monty added that the carmaker wants to reach a demographic that's “a little younger and a little more interested in technology” to describe the Escape's features and fuel efficiency.  

Ford's brand and content team worked on the initiative with Team Detroit, a blended agency mix of the Detroit offices of WPP Group firms JWT, Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, Ogilvy, and Mindshare. Both Team Detroit and Ford's internal communications division are managing the brand's social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Burson-Marsteller is promoting the event through consumer print, online, and broadcast media outreach. Burson hired Laura Hall as managing director for its US consumer practice and head of the agency's Ford Motor Company global consumer team last month.

To promote Words with Friends, there is “lots of conversation happening on the Ford Escape Facebook page and corporate Facebook page” that reaches audiences in the US, Canada, and Mexico, said Monty.

“We want to make sure that the Escape is engrained in people's minds as something new, exciting, and fun, most of all, and we want people to come out and have a good time,” he explained.

The company is using Twitter to encourage consumers to participate, and Zynga is also promoting the event through social media networks. Actress Jenny McCarthy will host the event live at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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