'Big Deal' Ads Tout Ford's Small Fiesta

Ford FiestaThe new ad campaign for Ford's subcompact Fiesta comes after a long ramp-up to the launch. Although the cars are not yet in dealerships, the company has been teasing the vehicle for a year, thanks to the availability of the European version that became the basis for the social-media experiment, Fiesta Movement.

"It's a pretty big deal" is the understated theme-line for the campaign, via Team Detroit, Ford's agency consortium. The campaign comprises national broadcast, print, digital and out-of-home components, as well as Hispanic and African-American advertising.

The 60-second launch spot airing on "American Idol" on Fox Tuesday night touts the car's 40-mpg highway performance, push-button start and Sync technology. In the ad, a lavish, over-the-top celebratory festival occurs around the car as soon as the young driver hits the start button. Skydivers fall from the air and legions of urban acrobats leap from buildings as banners appear touting various features and benefits of the vehicle.



The effort also continues the Fiesta Movement campaigns featuring bloggers and Facebook mavens who got early versions of the car. A series of humorous videos featuring the "Fiesta Agents" are running on Ford's microsite for Fiesta. Marketing Daily talks to Thomais Zaremba, brand communications manager for Fiesta, about the big launch of the small car.

Q: What's the genesis of that ironic "It's a pretty big deal" theme?

A: We wanted to come up with a campaign that would be celebration for us in general, and then talk about the fact that there is so much technology in this car that you don't find in any other vehicle in this segment as well as the 40-mpg story.

Q: Besides the national media buy, are you going to heavy up in urban markets for this, where the take rate is likely to be high for such a car?

A: No, what we are doing is running media in our big national media properties, and where we are continuing to target our Millennials is with digital and social media. We have to talk to the entire [compact car] segment because there are a lot of downsizers, boomers and import owners who buy in this segment, not just younger buyers. So our national media is targeted toward the larger audience.

Q: What other TV advertising will there be besides the launch spot?

A: We will have three spots, one focused on Sync and another on the 40-mpg story.

Q: The car is rolling into showrooms soon, so what does the demand look like after such a long pre-launch?

A: In terms of what we started with over a year ago with Fiesta Movement, we have generated over 132,000 handraisers. We opened our reservation line when we revealed the car at the L.A. Auto Show, and we had over 11,000 reservations. We have now seen about a 14% conversion rate of these reservations to actual retail orders, which is much higher than the 1% to 2% conversion rate we see with traditional CRM campaigns. None of the consumers have ever driven this car, and for many of them it's sight unseen.

Q: The Fiesta Movement is continuing in a sense with the video series featuring the agents testing the vehicle's technology in some unusual ways. How popular have these been?

A: The five videos we have online have only been up for a couple of weeks, and we already have 123,000 views on YouTube without media promotion. We will get to 16 before we are done.

Q: Is there a retail program as part of this?

A: There is. It's what we refer to as the Fiesta Retail Movement; it's been a pretty intense process, where we have been training dealers about Fiesta. It's not just a typical product training that dealers get, but also how to interact with these consumers, how to be socially active, whether it's Facebook or Twitter.

There are 573 dealers who have gotten additional training and will have Fiesta kiosks set up in their dealerships for consumers. It's not just about Fiesta, but for a range of small cars we are bringing to market -- starting with Fiesta, then the new Focus. It's how do we get people to come into our dealerships and understand that Ford has a range of small cars to offer?

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