Real estate search engine Trulia today kicked off its first "mapvertising" campaign, promoting Ford's year-end sales event by mapping the location of nearby dealerships when someone uses its mobile site to find homes for sale.
In addition to real property locations, maps will show branded icons indicating local Ford dealerships. Users can click through an icon to get more information about special year-end deals. The sponsorship effort also extends to Trulia's iPad app (but not the iPhone app), which will display Ford branding on the main screen and a clickable Ford logo within the search result listings.
On Trulia's PC-based site, icons for Ford dealerships will also appear in the maps that users can access beyond those shown on a property listing page. The campaign, spanning 3,300 Ford dealerships nationwide, will run until the end of 2011.
Because people use Trulia when they're looking for a new home, the company views Ford as a good fit to launch its new ad format because people may be considering other major purchases associated with a move, like a car. But Trulia plans to line up other brands across different industry verticals for the "mapvertising" as well. It says it will be able to geotarget "the right brands to consumers based on the type of homes that people are searching for," whatever that means.
Ford is demonstrating again it's not unwilling to experiment with new types of digital advertising. Earlier this month, it introduced a new vehicle for the first time through a social media game. The automaker partnered with Zynga to create what it called the world's largest version of Zynga's popular "Words With Friends" game as part of its launch of the 2013 Escape.