From Pi Day to Play Day: Ford, Subaru Take Math and Fun Out of the Office


It’s one of those things that maybe only engineers and mathematicians can love, but today is Pi Day. It’s 3.14. Get it? (Or in the United States, a somewhat much less obvious 3/14).

Anyway, that’s all the excuse Ford needed to create a promotion tied to the new Ford Fusion and, as spring beckons, to get some of its engineers out of corporate R&D offices in its headquarters town of Dearborn, Mich. Similarly, Subaru of America is trying to get many more American workers out of their offices and other workplaces as part of its Work Play Love Tour.

First, to Ford: Because Pi Day recognizes “the role math plays in everyday life,” as a Ford press release puts it, the company decided to use it as an opportunity to promote the fact that an all-new Fusion — yes, just like all Ford vehicles — is “a mathematical machine processing thousands upon thousands of equations every millisecond,” said Gil Portalatin, a Ford product engineer.[more]

Naturally, Ford engineers have been out today spreading Pi Day cheer far and wide. This morning, for example, they began posting a different math equation online every 3 minutes and 14 seconds. They also were visiting students at a couple of Ford-affiliated schools nearby to talk about how math shaped Fusion and to interact with the kids about automotive math.

Subaru’s idea of an outing sounds more like one for the masses than Pi Day. The Work Play Love promotion is designed, with internal brand engagement in mind, to encourage the company’s US workers to get out of their stuffy environments and attend one of the brand’s 50 “fresh-air therapy” stops that it is making at various U.S. companies.

The campaign aims to promote work-life balance — and Subaru’s new 2012 Impreza. Brands including Keen footwear, Yakima and Trek will collaborate with Subaru on the stops, which will include entertainment, outdoor games, a do-it-yourself trail-mix station, taking photos using fake mud and snow, and the availability to partiers of Impreza-based “personas” with which they can associate.