Ford To Launch Widgets For Sync On AOL

As part of its campaign touting the Sync telematics and in-vehicle entertainment technology, Ford will launch ads on AOL next week. Actually, they aren't ads per se, but--in the argot of Web developers--widgets. Widgets are virtual windows that can hold live content, videos, stats, what have you, and that can be moved from place to place.

Ford's Sync-touting widget will launch on AOL but can be "grabbed" and moved to one's personal pages and to social networking sites like MySpace, and Facebook.

Peter Kim, president of Pasadena, Calif.-based Interpolls, developer of the program which it is licensing to AOL, says the widgets, launched earlier this year with client Warner Brothers, serve up advertising and can be distributed virally. So even though the ad-like widgets launch on AOL, unlike traditional Web ads they can be "grabbed" and embedded on other sites by users.

Kim says consumers will want to do that because the widgets offer a rich-media experience, including a free song download. The music and youth focus are central to Ford's efforts to pitch Sync to Ford Focus buyers.



Ford, which has focused its Sync marketing efforts on music partners, has just launched a campaign using R&B artist Chris Brown as a centerpiece. The effort includes online, TV and radio ads, promotional activities and a tour.

The tie-in includes title sponsorship of a Chris Brown tour, the Up Close & Personal Holiday Exclusive Tour Powered by Sync, which launched last week in Cincinnati. There is also a Web site,, with interviews with Brown's posse. Ford earlier this year launched a similar campaign aimed at the Hispanic market and featuring 12-time Latin Grammy award winner Juanes.

"It's viral, it's more of an enhancement to rich media ad formats," says Kim. "Consumers can grab it, place it on their page and show other users the product. Rich media provides multiple goals and objectives through a single execution."

The partnership with Chris Brown includes radio and TV ads. The radio ads have already kicked off in select markets and the television ads will premiere in January, per Ford.

The Web site has clips from Funkmaster Flex' "Car Wars" TV show, footage of Chris Brown, and other content. Ford says the program with Brown will include a national sweepstakes dangling a grand prize of a fully loaded 2008 Ford Focus customized by Flex.

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