DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 16, 2009 – Approximately 1,000 fans of both pro football and the 2010 Ford Taurus have been chosen to host Taurus game-day house parties across the country on Oct. 18. The hosts were chosen from more than 6,000 online applicants.
“We are thrilled about the level of enthusiasm,” said Connie Fontaine, manager, Ford Brand Content and Alliances. “Fans across 45 states will not only be crowded around the television watching football this Sunday, but around the all-new Taurus, too.”
The 2010 Ford Taurus, starting at $25,995, the same price as the 2009 model, has been elevated considerably from even its iconic forerunners and can include Ford exclusives such as MyKey™, SYNC®, Multi-Contour Seats with Active Motion™ and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®).
On the home field
Ford Taurus Game Day House Party™ is part of a multifaceted advertising campaign that has targeted the 2009 pro football season, and it debuted with the 2010 Taurus being spotlighted on the Ford Drive One FOX NFL Sunday Pregame Show. The blitz continued throughout September with TV ads and a distinctive online presence.
House parties are one of the newest ways to integrate time-tested, word-of-mouth advertising with the popularity of social media; in fact, Houseparty.com data show that Ford was the first automotive company to hold house party events.
Partnering Taurus with a Houseparty.com event was an essential component to the overall integration of Taurus and football, Fontaine said, particularly because one of the main goals of the campaign was to reach male customers and generate excitement through the online community. Hosts, guests and anyone interested can access party information at www.houseparty.com/fordtaurus to find an overall map of party locations in the U.S. and tap into party topics, photos and ongoing conversations.
The page has been popular, according to the number of page hits tracked by Houseparty.com; since August, more than 230,000 people have visited the Taurus Game Day page.
Integrating the Internet into the campaign just makes sense, Fontaine said. Going online is a part of many people’s daily routine, not only for socializing, but for research, as well. Internal statistics show that 83 percent of the people who shop Ford go online before they visit a dealership, and 5 million people a month visit the fordvehicles.com Web site. With access to the Taurus house party Web site (www.houseparty.com/fordtaurus), the party platform is expanded to become a part of people’s daily online life.
“It makes the party live longer and be more effective,” Fontaine said. “Hosts can blog about ideas; they can share thoughts and photos, and when the party is over, they can share memories, too, with Taurus at the heart of it all.”
The viewing party brings the experience home, said Jeff Eggen, car experiential marketing manager for Ford. Party hosts will receive a Taurus-themed party pack with an informational DVD featuring Michael Strahan, a co-host of the FOX NFL Sunday Pregame Show. Hosts and guests may also have the opportunity to test drive a Ford Taurus the day of the party, and one lucky host will win a Taurus in a special sweepstakes that’s part of the event.
Parties are being planned in 45 states, with guest lists showing more than 18,000 people planning to attend.
“At all the parties, we get the messaging and the information introduced in a comfortable way, and that’s key,” Eggen said. “There is no place where you are more comfortable than at your best friend’s house, watching TV. You’re at ease, you’re having fun, and it’s a great opportunity for us to bring into that environment a great product we know they’ll enjoy.”
Ford Taurus Game Day House Party marks the fourth time Ford has used the viewing party platform to allow consumers to experience its brand firsthand. Each time, Eggen said, the results have been gratifying.
In 2008, Ford organized more than 1,100 viewing parties across the U.S. to gather during “Oprah’s Big Give,” a special philanthropic-based show on ABC organized by popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Viewers were invited to introduce their friends and family members to their new Ford vehicles during at-home test drives, and in addition 10 parties were selected to give a Ford vehicle to a deserving person or organization.
Also in 2008, Ford organized Warriors in Pink house parties in conjunction with the NBC comedy “Kath & Kim.” Family and friends gathered to watch a special episode of the program, and recent Ford buyers affected by breast cancer were chosen to host parties designed to inspire others to support the cause.
“With those integrations, we were just putting our toe in the water,” Fontaine said. “The first time we really used the platform to showcase our vehicle was with this year’s ‘American Idol’ finale.”
The Ford Fusion American Idol House Party in 2009 capitalized on both the launch of the Fusion and the excitement of FOX’s “American Idol” program. With 1,000 parties hosted nationwide, Eggen said, statistics showed that more than 6,300 people were able to experience a Ford Fusion, and 66 percent of party goers encouraged friends and family to test drive a Fusion after a party. Also, purchase intent increased 33 percent among party goers, and nearly 11,000 consumers opted to receive future communications from Ford.
“These parties just take good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising, and kick it up a notch,” Eggen said. “House parties use new media tools to make the experience bigger, better and more effective.”
# # #
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.