Devesh Gupta

Ford EcoSport: City connect

Urban Discovery aims to create buzz for Ford's latest offering, EcoSport.

Ford India has rolled out its latest campaign, EcoSport Urban Discovery, to create buzz around its upcoming SUV, EcoSport that is slated to be launched sometime in 2013.

Ford EcoSport: City connect
With its pre-launch campaign, Ford India has invited people to visit its microsite,
, and describe a unique, interesting location in their cities. These discoveries can be anything ranging from a picturesque location, popular local eating joint, local shopping area or an old tomb in the city. People will have to register on the website, post their entries and ask their friends to vote for their entries.

The campaign targets people in SEC AB and will continue for nearly a month, after which the top 35 posts will be selected by an independent jury based on quality of the entry, votes gathered and other criteria. These members will nominate two more members to form teams of three people each. All the teams will then be given an EcoSport for three-four weeks. Each team will drive the SUV to the places in their city where they always wanted to go and enjoy the thrill of the new car.

In the next phase, Ford plans shoot around the weekends when the teams travel to different places of their choice. The produced capsules will be shared on the YouTube and Facebook pages of Ford.

A grand winner will then be selected from the participating teams. The leader of the team that gathers the maximum number of followers, stimulates and engages them in the best possible way to amplify their urban discoveries, will win an EcoSport. The other team members will win international holiday packages. Ten lucky followers of the winning team will win iPads. The award ceremony will be telecast on one of the general entertainment channels.

Instead of a conventional launch through television commercials or OOH, the activity aims to engage the consumer through an experiential pre-launch campaign.

Ford EcoSport: City connect
Sriram Padmanabhan, vice president, marketing, Ford India, says, "We aim to create a buzz around the car in the market. And, we did not want to begin in a traditional style, so we thought of engaging with people in a manner that has not been done before. This is a grass root movement and we aim to create word of mouth for it."

Padmanabhan adds, "These people will be our brand ambassadors. They will be our face and drive engagement."

To drive registrations, Ford has roped in radio jockey Mantra, who will talk about the campaign on the radio platform. On the television medium, the brand will soon launch a television commercial featuring Mantra. The TVC will be shown on news channels and GECs.

Road shows during weekends are planned at several high footfall touch points across 12 cities such as New Delhi (including NCR), Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai), Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Kochi, Ludhiana, Chennai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and Kolkata.

It is also learnt that Ford plans to do something dramatic around the campaign in Delhi and Mumbai, although it refused to divulge any details right now.

The campaign will be extended to the mobile platform with an app that will talk about the features of the new car. People can also register for the EcoSport Urban Discovery campaign through this app.

Padmanabhan reveals that of the budgeted spend for the launch, 20 per cent will be on digital and mobile promotions, while 40 per cent each is dedicated to on-air promotions that include television and radio, and on-ground activities.

Lately, Ford India has undertaken several activities to promote its cars. It tied up with National Geographic Channel to promote the all-terrain version of its flagship product, Ford Endeavour. As a part of the campaign, it will launch a show with NGC, titled 'My Endeavour alterain'.

Ford India was set up in 1995 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, a global player in the automotive industry. Ford India manufactures and distributes automobiles and engines made at its modern integrated manufacturing facilities at Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai. The company's models include the Endeavour, Fiesta and the Figo. Some of its other operations across India include IT services, accounting and finance, financial services and automotive operations support, global analytics and engineering services. It employs more than 10,000 people across India.

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