Ford has created a new social media campaign called the Fiesta Movement and the goal is to (you guessed it) sell cars. Ford has found 100 web-minded individuals “Agents” and have given them a Ford Fiesta to test drive. Every month for six months, each Agent will be given a mission starting tomorrow. Many people in the industry are watching to see if this project is a success. I’ve read several posts and the comments that state that social media cannot sell cars. In my mind there are two key ingredients for this to be a success for Ford.
- Do people trust the Agents to tell the truth? Of course we all want to believe that they will be as transparent as they usually are and yet I imagine that is hard given the fact that they were just handed a new car and have attained some type of niche celebrity. This of course could swing the other way with individuals being overly critical, to avoid the overly optimistic motif. (This is assuming that Ford will let them tell the truth. Not sure how they can avoid it and I haven’t seen a copy of that contract.
- Is the product good enough to be recommended? We have all heard by now that there is no such thing as viral marketing, only viral products. (This sounds really good and makes you sound very smart when chatting with fellow marketers, but I’m still not sure it’s true.) This will be a test of the recommendation economy.
If Ford sells no cars from this; I’m not so sure that would be a failure. I’m sure in Ford’s eyes it will be seen as a failure and I also think it would be a success for social media. The crux of social media (and the Internet) is that it is a meritocracy. If things are not of quality — i.e. you can’t trust what the Agents are saying or the product is not of quality — they will fail. Very curious to see what happens.
Update: Just read that Land Rover just completed it’s first Twitter campaign using the hashtag #LRNY to connect the conversation they paid 15 users to participate in. This link has information about the campaign as does this one.