Ford, a longtime sponsor of Fox's "American Idol," wants to get tushes in the cushes -- not just to watch the show but also to drive a Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid. The company, which has had a major presence on "Idol" since launching the Ford Focus back in the early years of the century, is dangling the show's finale as a carrot to get people to showrooms.
For the promo, "Ford Rocks the Cinema," the company is offering tickets to view the May 19 finale at cinemas in 10 cities with test-drives of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. To go to one of the parties, consumers have to first test drive a new 2010 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid at select events between May 7 and 10 and May 14 and 17. Those who take a test drive will also be entered into a drawing to win a limited-edition "American Idol" Ford Fusion and an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the finale shows on May 19 and 20.
The Ford-hosted viewing events are in Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Tampa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia. Passes to the May 19 cinema viewing parties in each city will be distributed at the test drives on a first come, first serve basis, per the company. After capacity is reached, Ford will give $10 gift certificates for each test drive during the promotion's time window.
Ford is also working with an agency called House Party to organize 1,000 private house parties for the night of the finale. Local Ford dealers will loan new 2010 Ford Fusions to party hosts for the evening.
One party host drawn at random also will win a new 2010 Ford Fusion and a trip to the finale in Los Angeles. The two programs are also being promoted online at www.fordrocksthecinema.com and www.houseparty.com/fordamericanidol, respectively.
Ford also recently launched a sweepstakes on "Idol" that features the contestants in weekly music videos with the car. The vids are on the "Idol" Web site paired with a "Ford Music Video Challenge," wherein people have to answer multiple-choice questions about the videos.
Winners get a Fusion and trips to Los Angeles to participate in the music video shoots. The grand prize, to be announced Monday, is a round trip to the finale, plus three nights in a hotel, and a special "Idol" edition of the Fusion Hybrid with headrest video screens and of course an in-car karaoke.