Not enough bloggers in region to drive campaign, says Ford
Do they, indeed?
The excellent Dima Hmadi in today's Emirates Business 24x7 reports on Ford's international campaign to launch its new Fiesta model by getting 100 bloggers to test drive the car that shares its name with one of the London Rubber Company's finest products.
According to Hmadi's story, young trendsetters will 'live' with the car for six months, travelling as 'agents' on 'special missions' who'll report on their experiences using a variety of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Fiesta, says the story, has more than 300 fans on the Fiesta Movement Facebook page and over 600 followers on the @FordFiesta Twitter account.
Gasp! 600 followers on Twitter? What an international runaway success! Er... not.
The story goes on to outline how Ford has been 'innovating' in the Middle East, with an auction of 24 specially painted Fiestas taking place on souq.com. The auction attracted an overwhelming 70 bids which, according to a 'well informed observer' was seen as a very good response.
70 bids for 24 cars? That's 2.9 bids per car. A good response? Er...not.
And then the story goes on to make the statement that got my little goat: "Bloggers invited to offer their inputs from around the region, however, generated no response."
The Ford spokesperson goes on to waffle dramatically about online media in a terribly authoritative way, including Ford's 'non-traditional approach' to online promotion. This included a Social Media Release (SMR) that "contained Special Edition Fiesta information, special video content, images and press releases targeted to key print and online media."
Wooooaaaah there! A "social media release" was targeted at "key print and online media"???
Aren't we missing something here, Ford?
"The SMR received extensive coverage within the online community" apparently, although I can't recall anyone posting about Ford Fiestas and, in fact, a Google Blog Search yields zilch from Middle East blogs. And so does a Technorati search...
The banner advertising generated 16.7 million impressions, though, prompting over 30,000 click-throughs for more information on their homepage - and the emailer campaign generated approximately 1,700 consumer responses and another 5,000 consumers were sent "racing" to souq.com.
So, Ford sent out some emailers, put up some banner ads, sent out an 'SMR' to the wrong people, generated a woeful response to an auction, a sad Facebook membership and a tiny Twitter following.
Did Ford or any of its representatives contact anyone out there about this campaign? Bloggers? Did you "fail to respond" or did they "fail to contact you"???
If they didn't, as I suspect, contact a single damn blogger, then it would be the final nail in this woeful and mendacious account of a campaign that wasn't a social media campaign or an innovative online campaign at all.
It was a fail.
Some US reaction, from the first page of Google blogsearch results, to the campaign, BTW - because I couldn't find any Middle East coverage online beyond AME Info. Perhaps someone from Ford could put me right...
"Ford's idea for a video contest to pick the winners was brilliant, but the entertainment value of the videos, pics and tweets that will emerge over the next several months is questionable. I mean, as nice as the Fiesta may be, it's still just an entry-level economy car."
"Fiesta Movement is, at its worst, payola. Or if you prefer, blogola. And it’s the same sort of blogola that’s created huge dust-ups back in ‘07. For some background, try here, here and here. Simply put, by offering a free car, free fuel and free insurance to the agents, Ford has co-opted its agents’ messages. The moment these “socially vibrant” influencers took Ford’s booty, they became paid shills."