Learn Social Media by Example: The Ford Fiesta Campaign Analyzed

Social Media Campaign Stat Box

: Ford Fiesta (Automaker Industry)

: Products and services

: http://www.fiestamovement.com/

: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Blogs

: 18-30 age group in the US

: Win a car

: 2009/2010

Social media is what we love to talk about at Thoughtpick. In a effort to allow you to better understand and grasp the right use of social media for your upcoming campaigns, we are dedicating this regular section for you tailored to analyze old, new and current campaigns in terms of audience, success, lesson learned and more so you could learn about social media by example!

In Tough Economic Times: Can You Sell a Car Through Social Media?

After a gut-wrenching year for American automakers, Ford wanted to change its fortune with the all-new 2011 Fiesta.

After all, this Fiesta is not a very American car. Small, compact and fuel-efficient, the Fiesta is more tastefully European than insensibly American.

But it is not the functional design that has raised the numbers for Fiesta, it’s actually their fantastic social media campaign. The Ford marketing team spent a lot of effort in making sure it got buzz on the Web.

The Idea: Drive Your Car Through…

What they did was simple: they invited a 100 “social agents” to try the Fiesta for six month, and share their experience with the world. They had them promote the car through different social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube and blogs.

“While we’re trying to build excitement and awareness for the vehicle with the Fiesta Movement campaign, there’s something bigger happening here,” Scott Monty, Ford’s social media boss, told Wired.com. “We’re also going to be building broader awareness of Ford.”

With the Ford Fiesta campaign, Ford took a more organic approach as to how their 100 “social agents” decided to promote the car. There weren’t any set channels… their agents got creative.

Ford did give them some themes and “missions” though, for example:

  • Borrow some puppies and film them playing puppy soccer—in other words, prove how good you are at making the ultimate YouTube video.
  • Pick a meme from KnowYourMeme.com and turn it into a video.
  • Create a Family Guy–inspired video of you and your friends using as many celebrity allusions as you can, employing flashbacks and cutaways like the classic cartoon.

As you can see, these “missions” were picked because in concept, these ideas are likely to go viral (puppies playing soccer?).

They also gave each of their “agents” several tools: a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Flickr account, a YouTube account and a blog. Many of the agents have other accounts as well, like on Vimeo, 32Second, etc. Let’s do the math: [5 accounts on different Social Media sites] x [100 Agents]=500 pages of opinion-maker, constantly-updated blabber about the Fiesta, not counting other people’s interactions with this content. Sounds fantastic right?

Some of the options on one "Agent"'s profile...

Some of the options on one "Agent"'s profile...

For the Fiesta Movement campaign, Ford also organized the World’s Largest Tweetup by bringing together friends and family of the selected test drivers. We’re not sure when Guinness Book of Records  started acknowledging tweet-ups, but they did, and this one is marked as the World’s Largest Tweetup.

The main touch-point of the campaign was the Fiesta Movement website, which serves as some sort-of aggregator that gathers the different content being produced on the different pages the agents author.  On the Fiesta movement website, you can track missions, watch videos produced, and read more about the Agents.

Buzz Generated: “I’m super excited about this car!”

Don’t take it from us, take it from Rachel, one of the 13,144 fans of Ford Fiesta.

Picture 3

Some of the Facebook feedback

Some of the Facebook feedback

Some of the Facebook feedback

And it’s not just Facebook, on Flickr, these guys actually went through torture to get this image:


How many people can you fit into a Ford Fiesta? Apparently, 14!

Obviously, the 100 20-something “agents” that Ford played with also had tons of fun, and fun is a virus.

The video above shows how some people are willing to sell themselves cheap (in a hilarious way) to participate in this campaign.

Many of the American media moguls including The Wall Street Journal and Wired wrote lengthy articles about this campaign.

As for the numbers, they were also quite impressive, as of early January, here are the stats [Source]:
YouTube: over 6.5 million YouTube views.
Twitter: 6,500 followers, 3 million Twitter impressions.
Flickr: 540,000 views.
Facebook: 13,144 fans for “Ford Fiesta” and 2,500 fans for “The Fiesta Movement“.
Google: 943,500 results for “Ford Fiesta Movement”

Most importantly, they had 50,000 requests for information about the car in the first six days of sale. Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford said, “Ultimately what we’ve got is 50,000 hand-raisers who have seen the Fiesta online or in person who’ve said they want to know more about it when it comes out.”

These are very good numbers, because with the Fiesta, Ford had to start from zero, as the model had been absent from U.S. markets for years.

Lessons Learned: You Gotta Give Back, Man

According to an Outlaw Consulting’s branding report, “In focus groups, Gen Y tells us that the cool kids today are the ‘DOERS’ — the ones who are fixing, leading, changing, advocating, entrepreneuring in order to make a difference in the world. When you stop to think about it, that ’s a radical shift….being influential by actually influencing something!”

That’s exactly what Ford understood and built on with the Fiesta Movement. The Ford team relished on the fact that today’s youth want to be influencers, rather than influencees, so instead of spending loads of money on a TV-campaign that’s aimed to influence, they gave a 100 influencers a car instead and let them run amok.  Brilliant. Every company targeting teenagers and 20-somethings should definitely keep this mind.

Aside from that:

  • Sometimes, it’s a good idea to not limit the channels, but let Social Media be its truly organic self.
  • Fair trade is good trade. You can’t expect Social Media to work unless you give people value. Okay, a car is a little too much value in most cases, but value lies in anything, even a simply hilarious tweet.
  • Gen Y loves creating, and they love the limelight. It shouldn’t just be your product in the limelight with campaigns targeted towards Gen Ys.

You can apply to Fiesta Movement, Chapter 2 online.

: 4/5
: 3/5
: 2/5
: Yes
: 5/5

Comments and Reactions

9 responses to “Learn Social Media by Example: The Ford Fiesta Campaign Analyzed”

  1. Beiruta says:

    Great and comprehensive analysis. I just love the Flickr image! Expressive!

    As for my rating:

    Virality: 4/5, Innovation: 3/5, Feels Like an Ad: 5/5, Brand Visibility: 5/5

  2. M.Bamieh says:

    Lovely campaign and i really found it very interesting how they set it up as an invitation for people to just make fun of themselves with that car @_@

  3. Richie says:

    Some great marketing ideas there.
    Very good point about today’s youth wanting to be influencers.
    And now they have this opportunity to show their creativity to potentially millions online which would have been so much more difficult in the past.
    Great article. Loved it.

  4. Thanks for the overview of the campaign. I get that they ran the campaign to promote brand awareness and generate buzz, but they probably also wanted to generate sales. Any idea of metrics for sales from the campaign? How many bought the car based on the test drives, influencers, etc? And, by the way, the video is totally worth watching!

  5. […] Learn Social Media by Example: The Ford Fiesta Campaign Analyzed (thoughtpick.com) […]

  6. […] As of early January, the Ford Fiesta Movement stats are: YouTube: over 6.5 million YouTube views. Twitter: 6,500 followers, 3 million Twitter impressions. Flickr: 540,000 views. Facebook: 13,144 fans for “Ford Fiesta” and 2,500 fans for “The Fiesta Movement“. Google: 943,500 results for “Ford Fiesta Movement” (Source: Thoughtpick, 2010). […]

  7. […] of your audience on the internet then the whole world will know about it. So when car manufacturers like Ford and Honda tested the waters of social media marketing some of them forgot that on social media the […]

  8. Marshallhayek says:

    Ford is a big brand anyways that has a long history on the market. Social media marketing for them can really help them boost sales, but as I read on another blog, Ford is also investing a lot with viral marketing. But my opinion is that if they want to sell more cars, they will have to cut back on their profit and maybe eliminate some middle men from the business.
    Ford NH

  9. […] The Fiesta Movement also nabbed Ford the honors of being the organizer of the world’s largest tweet-up. […]

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