Focus Rally AmericaRemember the Ford Fiesta Movement? The clever marketing campaign to get the advanced word out about its new small car was quite a success. The Fiesta had higher product awareness before its official launch than any other car in its class, and the creative types within Ford Motor Company are hoping to capture that same sort of magic in getting the word out about the 2012 Focus.

Ford has just announced that it will be partnering with the creators of the hit television show The Amazing Race to create Focus Rally America, an online, interactive reality series starring the automaker's new global C-car. Six teams, comprised of two people and one Focus will participate in a five-week cross-country road rally with a grand prize of $100,000.

The cool thing, though, is that these individual teams won't just be running through the usual gauntlet of planned challenges. Ford is making the most of social media, and the teams will benefit from interactive online support from fans. The online followers can provide clues to help the participants along their routes, and Ford will be awarding ten brand new Focuses to the biggest supporters of the winning team. The whole event will be brought to you via webisodes on Hulu, beginning around February 1, 2011.

Casting is already under way, so if the Focus Rally America sounds like your thing, head to focusrally.com to sign up. In-person auditions will also be held in 11 major cities around the United States, with more information available at the event's website. For the full details about Focus Rally America, check out the automaker's press release after the jump.


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FORD TEAMS UP WITH THE AMAZING RACE CREATORS FOR INTERACTIVE ROAD RALLY WITH NEW FORD FOCUS

• Ford is teaming up with the Emmy Award-winning creators of The Amazing Race, Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, to create the first real-time interactive road rally starring the new Ford Focus

• Focus Rally: America, which combines the social vibrancy of the Fiesta Movement with The Amazing Race reality concept to create an unprecedented level of interactivity between contestants and fans, begins taping in February; episodes will be streamed on Hulu™

• Focus Rally: America marks the first time producers of The Amazing Race join forces with an advertiser to produce an online reality show

• There will be a nationwide casting call for adventurous, socially connected people to participate in the rally; interested parties can apply at www.focusrally.com or at one of the 11 open casting calls held in select cities throughout the country

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 4, 2010 – Ford is teaming up with the Emmy Award-winning creators of The Amazing Race – Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri – to create the first interactive real-time road rally featuring the new 2012 Ford Focus.

The five-week program, Focus Rally: America, begins taping in February and will be streamed on Hulu. The program will capture the vibrancy of the Fiesta Movement but with the added element of a real-time reality show.

The rally will feature six teams of two people competing against one another to complete tasks in a challenging cross-country road rally adventure to win a $100,000 grand prize plus 10 new Focuses for fans and supporters of the winning team.

"We are so excited to be involved in this groundbreaking series," said Doganieri. "There are two key elements to this series: first, the interactive element, which is designed to engage viewers throughout the rally and encourage them to participate in the challenges; and second, the real-time twist where consumers have the ability to follow their favorite team in the digital space. We've enjoyed collaborating with Ford on this project and feel the end result has the potential to be a real game-changer in the reality world."

Long- and short-form webisodes will stream on Hulu five times a week. Additional content will be generated by participants, giving fans and supporters a glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes in real time across various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Content also will be posted at www.focusrally.com.

"We learned a lot from Fiesta Movement, and by teaming up with the talented co-creators of The Amazing Race and Hulu, we saw a tremendous opportunity to generate excitement and awareness for the 2012 Ford Focus in a unique way," said Matt VanDyke, Ford's director of U.S. Marketing. "Ford has been in the original content space for a while, and we continuously look for opportunities to work with creative partners in a collaborative way. For us, this is a natural progression from integrating product into existing programs to creating our own."

Consumers will be able to engage with Focus Rally: America in three ways: watching the show on Hulu, becoming fans and followers of the rally teams on Facebook, and actively playing along in challenges to support their favorite team.

"Focus Rally: America is designed to give our audience an unprecedented level of engagement," said van Munster. "Not only will viewers be able to follow along in real time, but followers will have the ability to impact the outcome of the game."

As the vehicle that the competitors drive in the rally, the 2012 Ford Focus will be prominent throughout the program. Players will use the Focus' class-leading new technology – such as Ford SYNC®, MyFord Touch™ and the Navigation System – to complete tasks and challenges.

"The technology available with the Focus will be demonstrated throughout the course of the rally," said VanDyke. "And fans will see Focus' technology used by the competitors in a very authentic way. Essentially, they will be riding along on a very entertaining virtual test drive of the vehicle. At the end of the day, we are hopeful they will put the new Focus on their shopping list."

Casting calls begin for Focus Rally: America

Ford is putting out a nationwide casting call for people to participate in Focus Rally: America.

"We're looking for people who want to have a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure," said VanDyke. "Like Fiesta Movement, we want people who are highly connected through social media and have a built-in group of fans and supporters. They also need to have a big personality and be entertaining on camera."

People interested in participating can apply in one of two ways. They can submit an application online at www.focusrally.com, where they will be asked to upload a video explaining why they would be the ideal candidate for the show. Or they can apply in person at auditions that will be held in 11 cities: Los Angeles, Tampa, Austin, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Houston, Orlando and Las Vegas.

The initial casting call schedule can be found at www.focusrally.com. Applications will be accepted through mid-November, and all finalists will meet with one of the show's casting directors before the final cast is selected.

Focus Rally: America will start Feb. 1, 2011, and run for five weeks, leading up to the launch of the new 2012 Ford Focus in both North America and Europe. Fans who tune in to the show or visit their local Ford dealership will find the new Focus offers more affordable technologies and features than ever in the C-car segment.

Class-exclusive features include:

• MyFord Touch™ with 8-inch touch screen
• SYNC® with Traffic, Directions and Information
• HD Radio™ with iTunes® Tagging
• Active park assist
• Rear view camera
• Premium paint
• Ambient lighting
• Torque vectoring control

The 2012 Ford Focus also offers detailed craftsmanship, outstanding fuel economy projected at 40 mpg highway and a new standard for driving quality.