This past August, Ford Motor Company developed the F-150 EcoBoost Challenge that would highlight the aspects of their new EcoBoost engines. This challenge consisted of eight people across the country receiving an F-150 truck for the week and competing to achieve the highest miles per gallon.
Each competitor represented different regions of the United States and brought eight different markets into the competition with varying degrees of social influence in their communities. The drivers included Jason Falls (a Twitter user with over 40,000 followers), the social media manager for American Eagle Outfitters, and a middle school biology teacher.
All of the drivers were on a point system that required them to drive the most fuel efficient way possible. Each driver reported their success on the Ford Facebook page.
The second part of the competition involved getting the local communities of each competitor involved philanthropically. Each driver teamed up with their community for a weekend challenge to promote goodwill and local involvement within the area. The drivers had to use their F-150 trucks to carry supplies that would benefit community improvement project. All drivers had their respective projects posted on the Facebook page and the general public could go online and vote for their favorite.
Winners were determined by which competitor averaged the highest miles per gallon over the course of the week, the number of votes received on Facebook, and how many volunteers participated in the goodwill event. Ford partnered up with Shell to give the winning contestant a year supply of free gas and gave away free gas to the winning community for two hours and 22 minutes.
I got a chance to speak with Craig Daitch, a social media manager at Ford, about this campaign and its success.
Daitch explained that over 1,000 pounds of cat food was donated and relief packages were created in Raleigh for those affected by the hurricane that took place during the competition.
This challenge also produced success rates for Ford’s social media. Because the public was required to “Like” the Ford Facebook page before being able to vote, the page saw a 113% increase in fans. Ford’s Twitter page also reached 7 million followers as a result from this campaign. This challenge also received extensive media coverage about the average miles per gallon the winning driver achieved including coverage from USA Today.
When asked if this challenge helped sales for the trucks at all, Daitch responded that the social media success was not measured in per unit sales but that the company saw a changed paradigm. A more positive sentiment for Ford was seen as a result from the goodwill aspect of this competition.
Daitch also explained that this challenge helped Ford’s social media reach an audience that isn’t as prevalent in the social media world. The voting aspect of the contest forced people to start interacting with Ford’s Facebook page and seeing what it has to offer fans beyond just voting.
One of the competitors, Josh Mishell, created a website to encourage votes in his community and across the country. Information about the contest, himself, and his efforts in blog posts are all on the website. This page got over 14,000 visitors throughout the course of the competition.
This social media campaign was extremely successful in that helped introduce a new product from Ford in a way that caught people’s attention. It also generated goodwill and helped many communities across the nation.
Ford’s social media also benefited in more ways than one. It is evident, just from glancing at Ford’s social media website that the company cares about its customers and wants to interact with them as much as possible. The company definitely reached their goal in generating brand awareness and establishing a sentimental credibility with the public.