Ford is supporting its 2010 Fusion and Fusion Hybrid with a social-media program centered on eight teams of people competing in a sort of relay race. The Fusion 41 program, named after the miles-per-gallon rating of the hybrid model and the number of participants, extends Ford's "Drive One" campaign. Like the Fiesta Movement program, where people were given the forthcoming Fiesta compact car and asked to blog about it, Fusion 41 is all about generating online buzz about the car.
Only the captains of each of the eight teams will be owners of the 2010 Fusion. Applicants also must have a current Facebook account and a minimum of 100 "friends" as well as an active photo collection online. The sign-up is at www.fusion41.com between now and Nov. 6. Ford will choose captains based on their passion for the car and their Web-savvy, per Jeff Eggen, Ford car experiential marketing manager.
"It's not so much a demographic as a mindset," he says. "What we are really looking for -- particularly from the captain -- is a person who fits the Fusion target mindset: ready for anything, loves a challenge, doesn't just have their own beliefs but wants to prove to others that their beliefs are right."
He tells Marketing Daily that Ford will drive interest and applications from the current 2010 Ford Fusion owner database comprising over 50,000 people, plus Fusion forum sites, and Ford's Fusion Facebook site.
Each of the eight Fusion owners will choose four people to join their team and each team will be given a 2010 Ford Fusion or Fusion Hybrid to drive in the relay, wherein each team member must do an assigned task within 41 hours while logging miles driven, stops made or the number of passengers picked up before handing the car to the next team member.
The winning team will be chosen based on its ability to complete the activities and provide proof by uploading photos and videos to various social media sites, including Facebook. The Fusion owner of the winning team will be given the vehicle, and team members will get free gas for one year.
Eggen says the program is intended to be a fairly aggressive gambit by Ford to get vehicles out to non-owners and their comments on the car into the blogosphere. "Like Fiesta Movement, it's another example of how confident Ford is in marketing now," he says. "We want real customers behind the wheel to experience [the cars] and tell the story."
He says that the team members who are not captains are not going to be Fusion owners, and probably not even Ford owners. "But we are looking for teams where all the members have a level of tech-savvy; we want all of them to be on Facebook and using social networking tools at least at a minimal level."
He says that Ford will ask people following the teams on Facebook, etc. to submit ideas on which activities it should layer on top of all the others the teams are doing.