Online Reality Show Helps Ford Focus Accelerate Sales
Ford had some big-time objectives for the introduction of the new Focus—namely, making the car one of the most in-demand vehicles in the compact segment by the time it launched.
In order to meet that goal, Ford launched the Focus Rally. Six two-person teams would drive across the U.S., completing a series of challenges, all of which would be filmed and built into a reality competition–style series, broadcast only online. To lend some reality-TV bona fides, Ford enlisted the creators of “The Amazing Race” as production partners and hired Jonny Moseley (MTV’s “Road Rules”) to host.
Potential competitors submitted videos and convinced their online social networks to vote for them at focusrally.com. After Ford chose the participants, teams leveraged their own social channels to recruit online followers through social conversations streaming into the brand’s digital hub. Ford gave each team a new Focus and sent them on the road for five weeks. Every day, competitors created original content that was aired on Hulu, and then distributed by Ford through various digital, mobile, social and game-system platforms to expand its reach. Ford also asked online fans to communicate directly with the teams online, and to help the competitors through online games that unlocked advantages and earned points for the teams.
During the eight-week campaign, consumers spent more than one million hours online with the rally. There were more than 500,000 unique visits on the digital and mobile sites and more than 120,000 comments were posted on focusrally.com, Facebook and Twitter. Ultimately, the new Focus was the fastest selling vehicle in the segment during its first five months on the market.