In 2009, car companies took a major hit in sales and reputation. Ford, the only domestic automaker to reject a government bailout, had an interesting story to tell and turned to social media to reach its audience - car buyers of any age or location. Assembling a team of WPP Group agencies, including Ogilvy PR, Burson-Marsteller, Direct Impact, and Penn, Schoen & Berland, it sought to forge new relationships, improve the brand's perception, and develop breakthrough social media programs.
Ford and Ogilvy PR 360 Digital Influence interacted with bloggers and online influencers, using Twitter, YouTube, and other social media elements. It allowed drivers to experience multiple-day test drives, filming their experiences with Flip Cams. Ford used social media to follow the Ford Fusion Hybrid 1,000-Mile Challenge, demonstrating the car's fuel-efficiency, and hosted tweet-ups with Ford executives and events for blogging groups such as BlogHer. By showing its more human side, Ford hoped to reach a broader car-buying audience.
This change in communications strategy was met positively. One judge deemed it a "game-changing effort that has become part of the fabric of the company."
During the campaign, Ford saw its image evolve from "boring gas-guzzler" to "innovative" and "forward-thinking." The company reported its overall brand reputation increased seven percentage points from a record low in 2008. Additionally, Ford research found that, prior to the campaign, an average of 29% of bloggers would have considered purchasing a Ford. Post-campaign, that number jumped to 89%.
The campaign was wide-reaching, engaging with more than 300 bloggers and gaining nearly 70,000 online views of Ford branded multimedia content.
Honorable Mention: Tourism Queensland: Tourism Queensland's Best Job in the World Campaign
Tourism Queensland (TQ) encouraged adventure-seekers to apply for the job of an island caretaker for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef, hoping to raise awareness, media interest, and visitors. TQ used typical recruitment tactics - classified ads, job listings, and banner ads - and social media to quickly draw media and consumer interest. The effort generated more than 6 million unique Web site visitors and more than 34,000 job entries from 197 countries. "An original idea creatively executed across multiple channels," said one judge.
- Coyne Public Relations and Disney Parks & Resorts: Disney Parks' "What Will You Celebrate?" Online Virtual Storyteller
- GolinHarris and Unilever/ Klondike: What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar...Now?
- Tourism Queensland: Tourism Queensland's Best Job in the World Campaign
- WPP Group and Ford Motor Company: Building a More Social Ford Motor Company
- Zeno Group and Pizza Hut: Now You're Tweeting: Pizza Hut's Search for a Twintern
Kwittken & Company is an elite communications agency that provides its clients with results that extend far beyond traditional PR. We work with brands in the media/publishing, travel, luxury, fashion/retail, design, healthcare, financial services, technology, and B2B sectors to help them realize their business goals through intelligently designed, results-oriented campaigns.