Lessons Learned from the Ford Fiesta Movement Campaign

(Note: This blog post originally appeared on LinkedIn in 2016)

By Will Martin
@wmartin89

In researching examples of blogger outreach, I recently came across Ford’s effort to spread the word among young consumers about the Fiesta, a sporty, affordable model that could appeal to fiscally challenged millennials. A Detroit native, my heart’s pistons began pumping at what I thought might make a good case study on blogger and influencer outreach done right.

Ford launched the Fiesta Movement campaign in 2009 by inviting bloggers and social media influencers to apply for a chance to be one of 100 winners of a new Fiesta (and 6 months of gas money and car insurance). In exchange for their new ride, the winners committed to posting regularly and creatively about their experiences in their new car over the 6-month span.

The campaign was a big success, resulting in a ton of blogs, videos, pics and posts that personalized and highlighted the Fiesta and all the cool places and adventures on which a young, hip driver could take it. In fact, Ford’s “Fiesta Movement Chapter 2” campaign in 2013 attracted about 200 million views on YouTube alone. Compare this to its only 21 million views across official Ford channels.

Ford’s digital marketers incorporated the following blogger outreach principles and best practices in achieving success:

(1) They did their homework. They planned and researched their target audience, knowing that a sense of investment was essential to encouraging millennial social media engagement.

(2) The campaigns were highly organic. By inviting creativity and open submissions, the marketers allowed for natural interest groups to emerge that had relevance to the Fiesta (e.g. frugality, adventure, eco-consciousness, etc.), which gave the campaign a sense of genuine exchange and opinion. In the end, it fostered a sense of community.

(3) The Fiesta campaign was supportive of the bloggers and social media advocates in that it offered cross-promotion to leading influencers. Rising musicians, car junkies and young, fun, attractive folks flocked to the chance to get their faces and voices “out there” by riding (pun intended) the Fiesta campaign.

The Fiesta Campaign lesson, then? When it comes to blogger and influencer outreach, research the advocates you’re targeting, keep it real by allowing for the organic, and once you get some love, share the love in return.

Oh, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I drive a Nissan, but don’t tell my family back in Motown.

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