Ford is pulling out the stops to launch its 2011 Ford Fiesta small car. Already a year in pre-launch with the bar-setting social-media gambit at fordfiesta.movement.com, this splashy :60 commercial from Team Detroit will arrive during the live broadcast of “American Idol” May 18 on Fox. And you’ll see it in theaters next month.
The commercial, and a pair of :30s from WPP Group’s Team Detroit shows off the car’s features in a fun way that’s refreshingly different for the auto category. “It’s a pretty big deal” is the theme of the blitz.
Starting at $13,995 for the sedan and $15,795 for the five-door hatch, the new Fiesta is indeed a big deal: A big batch of technology, including more than a dozen features that are first to the small B-class segment, like a 6-speed automatic tranny and LED parking lights. This is Ford’s biggest car launch of the year.
Ford is making hay over the fact that Fiesta has a better fuel economy rating from the EPA, at 40 miles per gallon, than the comparable-sized Toyota’s Yaris (36 mpg) or Honda’s Fit (35 mpg).
Ford said at a press conference today at Team Detroit that the Fiesta Movement, which started last May, has generated 132,000 hand raisers, 80% of whom are new to Ford and 30% are under 25 years old. Of the hand raisers, 11,000 shifted to make a purchase agreement with a dealer. That translates to a 14% conversion rate, which Ford said tops its typical rate of between 1 and 2%.
Get this: Matt VanDyke U.S. marketing director, said the Fiesta’s year-long prelaunch was 5 times more efficient than any other prelaunch Ford has done. Ford gave 100 “agents” active in social media a Fiesta and some sort of buzz-generating assignment every month for six months starting last May. The second round of agents, 20 teams of two people, started early this year.
The car isn’t even in showrooms yet- not ’til this summer, though Ford is being vague about exactly when.
But wait- there’s more, lots more.
A half-dozen Fiesta webisodes created by Ford-picked “agents” went live last week at http://www.fordvehicles/fiesta.com and have already tallied 500,000-plus views. Not a big fan of the “Dawn of the New Key Fob” episode, in which a zombie chases drivers of the Fiesta, Yaris and Fit through the woods. Then again, I’m not the target audience for this stuff.
Fiesta’s launch also has magazines, events, digital, out-of-home, and a major multicultural push. Zubi handled the national and local Hispanic TV and print ads, which are aimed at bi-lingual consumers and mainly in Spanish. Digital ads on portals and a social media play will direct traffic to http://www.readypatumundo.com, which means “ready for your world.” Univision created the African-American portion, which includes a national TV ad and a big radio splash.
The second round of “agents” will stage at least 100 Fiesta events between now and summer’s end.
Ford says this is its new go-to-market strategy.
Rivals, take notes ….. and learn. Imitation is the best form of flattery!