The launch of the global Fiesta subcompact in the U.S. is the product event of the year for Ford, and so company executives were happy to announce this week that the party around the car already has begun. Ford introduced the spritely subcompact earlier this summer following a year-long "Fiesta Movement" on social media ahead of the launch — a social marketing push that has become a model for buzz-building.
After a huge push for its American debut via social media (and on American Idol), Ford's “Fiesta Movement” set in motion teams of viral “agents” to spread the word by designing clothes, creating wall art, directing short films and even teaming up with local bands in communities across the country.
The viral campaign generated nearly a half-million YouTube views of agent postings, more than 70,000 Flickr views, and more than 10.7 million Twitter impressions.
Fiesta Movement clearly created momentum that helped Ford’s marketing when the car actually began hitting showrooms in June. So far, Ford has delivered about 3,000 Fiestas, said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. sales, and “we’re very pleased with our progress.”
Three additional factors contributed to Ford’s enthusiasm about the early returns on Fiesta, Czubay told automotive journalists on Tuesday in Ford’s conference call about July sales.
First, Fiesta is selling well in Southern California, a "very competitive small-car market" where imports historically have held sway in the segment. Second, Czubay said, Fiesta is enjoying "a greater percentage of 35-and-under" buyers than many of its competitors. That’s largely where Ford’s strong social-media campaign has kicked in. Few of its target customers for Fiesta were even born when the first version of Fiesta hit the market in the Seventies.
Third, he noted, the mix of sales of variously equipped versions of Fiesta "has been even stronger than we'd planned." About 40 percent of sales have been highly loaded versions of the car, and 62 percent are hatchbacks. "That's a segment where people didn't know if [loaded models] would sell in the U.S.," he said.
The Fiesta Movement is now in phase 2 — and if this keeps up, Ford will be partying over the Fiesta for years.