Ford has been all over the social media map over the past year to promote the U.S. version of the Fiesta compact car. The company's Fiesta Movement campaign has centered on using bloggers with early versions of the car to get the message out about it through guerrilla marketing, blogging, and advocacy to their fans on sites like Facebook.
Now that the car has actually launched, the automaker is taking the "Fiesta Movement" idea into retail with a dedicated owner-experience program intended to heighten the experience of driving the car off the lot while making new owners part of the wired Fiesta community.
When owners come to pick up the cars, they will get an interactive USB drive as part of the package. The device -- part of what Ford calls the Fiesta "unpackaging experience" -- actually begins when owners drive off the lot. The size of a typical external Flash drive, it holds the owner's manual as well as a portal to Fiesta-owners' social communities, podcasts, enthusiast clubs and merchandise.
The effort is part of Ford's Retail Movement program involving dealership training on how to sell and deliver the car and make the car-delivery an experience, per the company.
The unpackaging process starts with a video featuring Ford's Fiesta Movement agents that new owners can watch on dealership kiosks. People can have their pictures taken with their new Fiestas, and the photos can be uploaded to the Fiesta Community site.
Once inside the car, owners can plug the drive into the Fiesta's USB port. That allows them to hear some 19 minutes of podcasts on various features and functions in the car.
The idea is that once the owners get home, the USB goes into their home computer and downloads a Fiesta Community app. The application includes "Fiestapedia," an online wiki where owners can get tips and ideas from each other; a Photoshop application where owners can download the photos they had taken at the dealership and switch out new backgrounds; an online community through the independent enthusiast club Fiesta Faction; a dealer store, and various podcasts.
The company is also focusing on personalization by extending to Fiesta a program it launched with the Ford Transit Connect van in April. Ford will offer vinyl wraps in 18 designs and many colors.
Fiesta brand manager Sam De La Garza says the company, which launched the Fiesta customization program last week, will expand it to other Ford vehicles. He says the cost is between $200 and $500, depending on how elaborate the art is, plus installation. "And if you get tired of it, you aren't stuck with it," he says. "Since it isn't paint, it can be removed."