CAMPAIGN: Ford has the last laugh with web-based sitcom

In a bid to appeal to a younger market, car maker Ford and digital communications and design firm Imagination created the concept of a daily online sitcom with a strong interactive element

Campaign Where are the Joneses?
Client Ford
PR Team Hot Cherry PR
Timescale June to September 2007
Budget Undisclosed

The idea was to pull in a techsavvy, young audience to help shape the storyline. Hot Cherry PR was hired to promote the sitcom and its dedicated site www.wherearethejoneses.com.

Objectives
To boost visitors to the sitcom’s site. To promote Ford’s involvement with the sitcom. To engage with a young audience using online and traditional media.

Strategy and plan
Hot Cherry PR decided to create a word of mouth interest in the sitcom, so links to the wherearethejoneses.com site were posted on YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. Key bloggers with an interest in media were targeted and contacted, and the PR team wrote blogs from characters in the sitcom.

Ford wanted a ‘hands off’ approach limited to funding and supplying cars used by characters on the soap.

Online activity started in June and by July the PR team began to contact print journalists. A key angle was that it was the world’s first online, daily sitcom that the public could interact with. Each five-minute episode ran daily over 90 days and was filmed shortly bef­ore broadcast.

Measurement and evaluation
The story was covered 410 times. Fourteen national broadcast titles picked up the story including BBC News, BBC Three News and Radio Five Live.

The Sunday Times, The Mirror, The Sun and The Guardian were among the 17 national newspapers to cover the story. Online media coverage included 89 websites and 290 mentions on blogs, social networking sites and online for­ums. Further evaluation by Hot Cherry found 95 per cent of coverage mentioning Ford’s involvement was positive.

Results
The sitcom was viewed 250,000 times. The www.wherearethejoneses.com blog was ranked by blog tracking org­anisation Technocrati as the 40,624th most popular in terms of unique users, out of 71 million monitored globally.

 

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