Campaign: Focus Music on the Move
Client: Ford of Britain
PR team: In(c) (www.incword.com)
Timescale: December 2007-May 2008
Budget: £50,000 (not including tour and logistics)
In November 2007, Ford of Britain PR manager Fiona Pargeter asked strategic editorial agency In(c) to send a writer and photographer behind the scenes at the Beautifully Arranged shoot in the US.
The agency subsequently suggested to Ford that a UK tour and exhibition of the instruments would increase its credibility and answer the many questions it believed would arise from the successful commercial.
The Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) was also brought on board as a charity partner, as many of its fundraising events centre on music.
To prove that the car-part 'instruments' actually worked by playing them on a tour of venues in London, Glasgow and Liverpool
To target a wide range of publications with Ford stories that were not overtly product-focused
To raise money and awareness for the TCT.
Strategy and plan
In February 2008, In(c) oversaw the recording of a charity single using the instruments, featuring Mike Rutherford (Genesis) and Kenney Jones (The Who). It also arranged for 12 musicians to be trained to play the car-part instruments so they could perform live each day of the tour and at media events.
On the eve of the tour in April, members of Travis played the instruments at the Royal Albert Hall - supporting The Fratellis. The instruments were also played by buskers in London's Covent Garden and in Glasgow and Liverpool.
Scottish singer Sandi Thom played a version of her hit single Punk Rocker on the instruments for Scottish newspaper the Daily Record and YouTube. Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) gave The Sun a drumming lesson using them and their creator Bill Milbrodt featured extensively across a range of publications.
Evening launch parties preceded a three-day tour/exhibition at each of the three chosen cities, with local press, VIP guests from Ford and the TCT and celebrities in attendance. In(c) commissioned partner agency Clean Slate to create a stage set using oversized chrome flight cases.
Measurement and evaluation
More than 200 media outlets covered the story. CNN ran it ten times in 24 hours. Radio and TV coverage included Virgin Radio, BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends and a seven-minute slot on BBC Breakfast.
Print coverage included major features in The Sun, The Sunday Times, Daily Mirror, The Observer, Evening Standard, Daily Record, Liverpool Daily Post and The Daily Telegraph. In return for an exclusive, The Sunday Times dedicated three pages and a web page to the event and made the track available to download.
The key messages of instrument authenticity and TCT fundraising were common to nearly all pieces.
The tour was seen by an estimated 17,000 people, including 5,000 at the Albert Hall. Funds raised for the TCT stand at more than £20,000, with an auction of the signed instruments to come.
At the start of the project, awareness of the ad was high, but there was also widespread scepticism about the authenticity of the instruments. By the end of the tour, awareness of their playability was high. There are currently about 500,000 YouTube hits featuring music being played on the car-part instruments and scenes from the tour.
In the year to date, the Focus remains the best-selling car in the UK, outselling its nearest rival, the Vauxhall Corsa, by almost 8,000 units, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.
Guy Corbet, director, Fishburn Hedges
The brief to 'make my advert famous' is not always the easiest to tackle. After months spent on production, the PR agency gets called in at the last minute and, because nobody wants to upset the marketing director, a procession of 'the emperor's new clothes' sets off.
But every now and again an ad does has news value and the PR agency makes a cracking fist of it. That is what In(c) has done here.
The PR objective was to prove that you can take a Ford Focus apart and make music with it.
Even the rather woolly statement in the evaluation: 'awareness of the playability was high' (really? How high?) can be forgiven in light of the well-executed, hard-working and creative campaign.
In(c) generated a lot of on-message coverage, got face-to-face with thousands of people and left a lasting impression on YouTube - just search for 'Ford Focus on the move'.
The campaign had an array of news hooks, from the launch single, through the Royal Albert Hall and local events, to well-targeted launch parties, so it built up a head of steam.
Creative use of celebrity assets enabled the team to deliver high-impact exclusives to a wide variety of people in the target range.
The charity connection will have given depth and another angle to all of the activity.
Overall, the campaign took some disparate angles and squeezed every last drop out of them for good strategic reasons. In(c) deserves much credit.