Ford boosts Millennial outreach in Fiesta campaign

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Company is increasing its use of experiential tactics to reach Millennials in its campaign for the 2014 Fiesta vehicle.

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Company is increasing its use of experiential tactics to reach Millennials in its campaign for the 2014 Fiesta vehicle.

Ford is turning to 100 social influencers, referred to as “agents,” to incorporate more of their interests and backgrounds into storytelling efforts for the Fiesta. For example, the brand is asking influencers to document their experiences at concerts and other large events.

In June, Ford's Fiesta team will head to Tennessee with a group of influencers for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The goal is to connect with young people at the festival in an authentic way through their interests, rather than posting banners, said Daniel Mazei, Ford's car communications manager.

“There's no forced conversation, no message points… it's just about taking the car out, having fun, going out to this event, and showing the world,” Mazei said.

One of the influencers will perform music, and another will be paired up with a comedian at Bonnaroo.

Ford will also use this experiential communications strategy for the launch of the Fiesta ST this summer and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine later this year, Mazei said.

The brand initially launched Fiesta Movement in 2009 for the 2011 vehicle. Ford provided 100 digital influencers with Fiestas and asked them to record their experiences with the cars for the campaign site. The initiative made 60% of consumers aware of the Fiesta brand, according to Ford data.

Ford launched a campaign for the 2014 model in February, called Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix. As with the first effort, the brand gave Fiestas to 100 social influencers with unique personalities so they could write content about the cars for up to eight months. Ford is sharing the user-generated content on social platforms as well as incorporating it in Fiesta ads, Mazei said.

Company data shows that 25% of Fiesta buyers are Millennials, he added.

The brand is reaching out to automotive, lifestyle, and general consumer media, with opportunities to expand into food and music outlets, Mazei said.

The initiative, which gives influencers control, is part of a “new overarching strategy” for Ford, Mazei said.

WPP Group's Team Detroit, which includes PR firms Ogilvy Public Relations, Burson-Marsteller, and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, serves Ford's marketing needs.

Ogilvy, which has been helping the Fiesta brand engage press and social media influencers, held a panel for Ford at the firm's New York office on May 30 called “Millennial Misconceptions: What really drives the Millennial generation?” The panel included Sheryl Connelly, global consumer trends and futuring manager at Ford; Jeremy Kressmann, travel and tourism evangelist at Tumblr; Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer at the Center for Generational Kinetics; and David Rabkin, SVP of consumer co-brands at American Express.

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