Ford looks to empower multicultural women

DEARBORN, MI: Ford recently launched two media partnerships—with Essence magazine and AOL Latino—in an attempt to empower and interact with multicultural women.

DEARBORN, MI: Ford recently launched two media partnerships—with Essence magazine and AOL Latino—in an attempt to empower and interact with multicultural women. The programs, launched in the May issue of Essence and on AOL Latino May 7, also promote the new 2010 Ford Fusion.

"We wanted to find something that could relate to their passion points and find a way for us to promote our vehicles and become top-of-mind with those women when they are looking for a vehicle," said Crystal Worthem, a multicultural marketing manager for Ford Motor Company.

The automaker introduced Tu Voz, a Spanish-language online resource for women with AOL Latino, and the Women Driving Progress campaign with Essence, both focusing on the topics of health, career, finance, and lifestyle.

"Obviously, with everything that is going on in the automotive industry right now, we're trying to continue to position ourselves as a very vital brand, a relevant brand, a brand that understands and wants to have a dialogue with the women's market," added Dave Rodriguez, a multicultural marketing communications manager for Ford.

For Tu Voz, PR is focused online, with outreach via Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Media relations will target both Spanish-language media outlets and also more general market outlets in cities like Atlanta, Miami, and New York, said Diedre Ayers, communications manager for AOL corporate communications.

"From a PR perspective, we want to continue to increase the awareness of AOL Latino, as well as our women's lifestyle forum," she added. AOL, Ford, and Essence handled PR internally, coordinating on the programs.

For Women Driving Progress, advertising was used to kick off the campaign, including advertorials and spots in the publication, but the PR aspect will ramp up around the Essence Music Festival in July, where one winner from the program will take home a 2010 Ford Fusion. Empowerment coaches are part of both programs and will play a role in PR, serving as spokespeople and providing content.

"It's all about empowerment and really giving [women] the tools they need to achieve both their personal and professional goals," said Cassandre Pierre, integrated marketing director* for Essence. "It is the same story that we are telling our readers every month in the magazine."

* A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Pierre as integrated marketing manager. PRWeek regrets the error.

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