Ford has already demonstrated strong, puppetmaster-like abilities with the whole Fiesta Agent thing. In exchange for agreeing to go on secretive "missions," a few dozen people were given a Ford Fiesta for six months this year (they're about due to give them back). Building from of that idea, comedian Mark Malkoff – yes, the guy who slept in an IKEA store for a week – is trying to collect the "Keys to the City" from as many cities as possible this month. Malkoff has convinced Ford to loan him a new Fusion hybrid while he travels around and performs a few stunts to earn those keys – including collecting all of the coins from a fountain in Fairfax, VA and cleaning up after the police horses in Harrisburg, PA.
We're not quite sure who's pulling who's strings here, but it seems someone's getting played. At least it's all in good fun. There's a video of Malkoff figuring out what the keys to the city are all about after the jump.
FORD FUSION HYBRID AND COMEDIAN MARK MALKOFF SET OFF ON ROAD TRIP TO EARN CITY KEYS
- The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid embarks on an incredible journey this week, accompanying comedian Mark Malkoff on a 28-day quest to see how many mayors east of the Mississippi he can convince to give him keys to their cities
- The Ford Fusion Hybrid is America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan, and it offers class-leading features that will assist Malkoff on his adventure, such as Ford SYNC®, a voice-activated navigation system and an electrical outlet
- Malkoff hopes to earn 100 keys to cities throughout the country before his journey with the Ford Fusion Hybrid ends on Nov. 1
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 8, 2009 – The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid made news in April when it set a world record traveling 1,445 miles on a single tank of gas. The vehicle embarks on yet another incredible journey this week, accompanying comedian Mark Malkoff on an action-packed 28-day quest to see how many mayors east of the Mississippi Malkoff can convince to give him keys to their cities.
"Mark came to us with the idea, and we loved it," said Jeffrey Eggen, manager, Ford Car Experiential Marketing. "It fits in well with our strategy to raise awareness of our new Ford vehicles by getting real customers behind the wheel and letting them tell their own story."
Malkoff – who has made news before for doing unusual things like living and sleeping in an IKEA store for a week while his apartment was being fumigated – will have quite a story to tell, and he says he's thrilled to be partnered with the new Ford Fusion Hybrid.
"I always tell people I feel like I'm driving KITT from 'Knight Rider' because of all the cool technology in the car," said Malkoff. "It's the best car I've ever driven."
All of Malkoff's adventures behind the wheel of the Fusion Hybrid will be chronicled in cyberspace. Videos, photos and blogs will be featured daily at www.markmalkoff.com/keystothecity, and Malkoff will provide interested followers with regular updates on social networking sites such as Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.
"Mark will be connected and working constantly with both hands securely on the wheel, thanks to the Fusion Hybrid's voice-activated Ford SYNC® communication system," said Eggen. "It also will be great to see Mark's reaction to his own real-world fuel economy."
Malkoff is sure to be impressed. The Fusion Hybrid is America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan, boasting EPA-estimated 41 mpg in the city. The vehicle also features an electrical outlet.
"I'll be able to charge all of my equipment without ever leaving the car," said Malkoff.
Malkoff and the Ford Fusion Hybrid began their odyssey into the unknown Monday in Harrisburg, Pa., where the mayor had a somewhat peculiar task in store for him to complete in order to earn a key to the city.
"Apparently, all of the police officers ride on horses, so the mayor wanted me to follow them around and clean up after the horses in order to get the key," chuckled Malkoff, who readily admits he will do just about anything to get a key. "In Fairfax, Virginia, they want me to climb into their town fountain, collect all of the coins and donate them to charity because no one else wants to do it."
Malkoff says he hopes to earn 100 keys before his journey with the Ford Fusion Hybrid ends on Nov. 1.
"Once people start finding out about this, mayors from all over the country are going to be Twittering me to come to their cities," he said. "I like doing things that on paper look almost impossible to pull off."
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.
About Mark Malkoff
Mark Malkoff is a comedian, writer and filmmaker who has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Early Show, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Mark is best known for a popular short video in which he visited and consumed purchases at all 171 Starbucks locations in Manhattan in less than 24 hours. Additionally, Mark achieved worldwide media attention by living and sleeping in an IKEA store for an entire week. Most recently, Mark set a Guinness World Record by making a video series that featured him staying on a commercial airplane for an entire month to get over his fear of flying. Beginning Oct. 5, Mark will be driving a Ford Fusion Hybrid across the country for four weeks seeing how many mayors he can get to present him their key to the city. Mark's work can be seen at www.markmalkoff.com/keystothecity.