Ford has been moving from one major social-media marketing innovation to the next, so it comes as little surprise that the brand is mounting a major digital and social effort around the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan.
"Random Acts of Fusion" is a multi-platform, transmedia campaign that features Ryan Seacrest as its "emcee." It centers around a contest in which consumers will "Unlock" how Fusion is able to "transform" the lives of people who drive it, Crystal Worthem, manager of Ford Brand Content & Alliances, stated.
In its slowly unfolding, almost teasing aspect, unlike previous Ford campaigns predicated on quick social-media participation, the Facebook-centered campaign is building anticipation by inviting fans to register and then stay tuned: "What's in the box? Register below to find out. Ryan will send one to each of the first 2,500 people who sign up for Random Acts of Fusion. Then come back to Facebook.com/FordFusion on July 5th to find out what happens next."
The teaser campaign "is designed to invoke emotion, which the [car] design does," Scott Monty, Ford's director of social media, told brandchannel. And the promotion is built "to go with people where they go — desktop to mobile to digital to social to experiential."
A major part of the effort finds Ford planning to use a fleet of around 100 of the new Fusions for short-term loans to 1,000 or so people who will be chosen for their personal stories. Ford's earlier social-media efforts focused on "influencers" such as the 100 bloggers/brand ambassadors who drove early versions of the Fiesta in 2010 for the Fiesta Movement campaign.
Now, the Facebook-centric Random Acts of Fusion (which you can follow on Twitter via the #RandomActs hashtag) is aiming to bring in a much broader range of people for an early taste of the car.
Ford has high hopes for the third generation of Fusion, a completely redesigned, stylishly eye-catching model that should help it compete more effectively in a segment of the market where Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have dominated.
The Random Acts campaign plans to leverage "personalities from consumers to celebrities" to capture the interest and imagination of viewers, visitors and participants. The use of Seacrest is probably a good place to start — the affable TV/radio host already has a relationship with Ford through American Idol, and his profile is only going to rise as he also gets exposure on NBC's The Today Show and during its Summer Olympics coverage.
Seacrest "will have the most star power," Monty said, but Ford plans to pull other celebrities into the campaign as well. "And he's most aligned with the Ford brand overall and the demographics of the Fusion buyer," which centers on Americans in their thirties.
First phase of the campaign was the launch of a video this week on Ford's Fusion Facebook page featuring Seacrest, who explained that the campaign only moves to the next level after 1,000 people have signed on to watch the video.
Is Ford to that number yet? Not yet, but give it time. "We put it on the Fusion page rather than the Ford page, and there are fewer fans there," Monty explained.
It's not exactly like announcing an Idol finalist, but for Ford, Fusion will be the star of the year. For more on the Ford Fusion "Random Acts" campaign, and how it fits into Ford's "Go Further" global positioning, check out Monty's blog post.