SAN FRANCISCO - Ford’s West Coast Marketing team is going further in San Francisco to keep the Blue Oval at the top of consumers’ minds and garner attention for new Ford products in a very creative way.
In mid-April, the team opened the first of four Ford Go Further “stores” in San Francisco. The stores – each of which is active for 30 days – take up temporary residence at high-traffic locations in the city and draw people in with high-profile partners and unique themes that are totally unrelated to cars – like art and cooking. And while people are enjoying themselves at the venue, there are Ford vehicles on display for them to see and learn about.
“I think of it as peripheral marketing,” said Travis Calhoun, Marketing Development manager, West Market Area, and one of the masterminds behind the project. “Consumers enter the store thinking that they’re going to see something else – like an art gallery or a food demonstration – and then Ford becomes relevant to their lives.”
According to Calhoun, the first Ford Go Further store was designed to attract the attention of San Francisco’s Asian communities. It was set up in a beautiful two-story building near the financial district outside of Chinatown and featured an art gallery theme. In addition to displaying work from local artists, partners like Pandora and Moshi provided other enticements to engage consumers.
Pandora set up a listening experience that enabled people to play with the internet radio company’s latest features and Moshi had accessories on display for the iPhone, iPad and other devices. There was also a unique fashion mobile app demonstration area and collectible art toys for sale. People could vote online for their favorite piece of art and win prizes on site.
“Our aim was to communicate superiority in Ford design and technology, so we integrated the Taurus SHO and the Fiesta into the display,” said Calhoun. “It was a great success.”
Well over 12,000 people attended the first store, and the majority of those people went on to ask for more information about Ford products, says Tom Grill, U.S. Western Ford Market Area Sales and Marketing manager.
“And in pre- and post-surveys of that general area, Ford rose from No. 5 to No. 2 as being a known automotive brand and from 7 percent to over 22 percent as being a leader in automotive design and technology,” he said.
Grill says those numbers are especially significant because of how vital the San Francisco region is to Ford.
“San Francisco is a very important population not only because of the people in that market but because the market is home to a lot of opinion leaders that affect the West Coast with what they think and what they write,” he said.
Grill says creating unique Ford experiences in San Francisco is especially important since there are no Ford dealerships within the city limits.
“Unlike other manufacturers, Ford is not represented in this market so our issue has always been how do we keep the Ford brand alive and well in San Francisco,” he said.
Calhoun says every consumer lead uncovered at a Ford Go Further store is passed on to a dealer in one of San Francisco’s neighboring communities.
“And if the customer is really interested in buying a Ford product, we provide them with a $500 incentive to buy the car within the next 30 days at any dealer in California,” he said.
Calhoun says he believes the Go Further stores are a great way to introduce people to Ford cars and trucks outside of the traditional dealership setting.
“People have a lot of trepidation when they feel like they’re going to be sold something,” he said. “So if you create a different environment for them, one that they want to be a part of with something that they already have a vested interest in like art or cooking – then you’re coming to them on their terms. And we’re showing them that we’re passionate and we care about the same things that they do.”
Calhoun’s plan was to have a new Go Further store each quarter. The second store featured a “green” nutrition theme with local chefs doing cooking demonstrations. It highlighted Ford’s sustainability efforts and showcased the new Ford Focus Electric and C-MAX Hybrid vehicles.
The third store will target customers with an active lifestyle and feature the all-new Escape. Customers are invited to participate in various complimentary fitness courses and see how the Escape fits in their lives. The fourth and final store will focus on the all-new Fusion, but the theme is yet to be determined.
West Coast Marketing Team Produces Gimme the Gig Special for KTLA-TV
In addition to creating the Go Further stores, Ford’s West Coast Marketing team developed a unique concept for the sequel to last year’s successful Gimme the Gig Sweepstakes, which scoured the country for up-and-coming bands and selected one grand prize winner to work with Grammy® Award-winning producer Don Was to produce two original songs.
This year, the team took the effort one giant step further. They teamed up with Was and “Mad” Mike Martin of the popular Pimp My Ride television show to build a fully functioning, state-of-the-art mobile recording studio in the all-new 2012 Ford Focus. The tricked-out Focus went on tour throughout the country and helped the team audition 2,500 bands.
“The idea was to take the Focus and Was to the bands, instead of the other way around,” said Calhoun.
Gimme the Gig II selected three winners, each of whom was given the chance to record one track on the road with Was in the Focus. Their music was recorded on the spot and the tracks were uploaded to iTunes using the Focus’ in-car WiFi feature.
The entire Gimme the Gig II tour – showcasing the 2012 Ford Focus – was captured on tape and Ford’s West Coast Marketing team used the footage to produce three one-hour television specials for San Francisco’s KTLA-TV. The first and second programs aired on July 21 and July 28. The third installment will air on Aug. 4. After the air dates, the programs will be available for viewing at www.gimmethegig.com.
“We did an entire experiential tour across the western U.S. identifying bands to play at car events where we had test drives for consumers,” said Calhoun. “It was incredible.”
According to Calhoun, Gimme the Gig II generated 19.1 million consumer impressions, prior to the first television episode airing, through a combination of video and site views, band and Gimme the Gig II communications, tour attendance, and earned and social media hits.
Over 28,000 people requested additional information from Ford after attending the events and Ford dealers delivered 107 vehicles to those customers over the last year.