Ford is pulling out all of the marketing stops with its Ford Fiesta. The Blue Oval has already given 100 lucky Fiesta Movement contest winners a free six month lease of a Euro spec Fiesta, including free gas and some interesting Ford-sponsored excursions. That's not nearly enough customer interaction for the Dearborn automaker, however, as evidenced by its desire to log 100,000 test drives before the North American spec Fiesta hits the market.
Ford is traveling to 100 cities in total, with five teams of five Euro spec Fiestas permeating all parts of the USA. Ford will also offer free wireless Internet at the drive sites, giving test drivers the ability to blog about their Fiesta experience in real-time. And Ford won't simply show up in big cities like LA and Chicago, as some rural locations are being planned. Ford also plans to show up unannounced at high traffic areas like amusement parks and college campuses.
Hit the jump to read the official Ford press release.
DEARBORN, Mich., May 11, 2009 – Ford is launching an aggressive eight-month consumer grassroots test drive tour as part of the Fiesta Movement, the company's social media campaign to build awareness for the new Fiesta launching next year.
"The Fiesta Movement is about bringing a fuel-efficient, fun new car to the people to experience," Connie Fontaine, Ford Brand Content and Alliance Manager. "Our goal is to conduct 100,000 consumer test drives by the time that we reveal the North American production version later this year."
From May to December, five regional test drive teams representing the Fiesta Movement will travel across the country to engage consumers with the opportunity to test drive a European-specification Fiesta. The teams will visit at least 100 cities over the eight months, with a goal of 100,000 test drives overall. Stops will be in small towns and big cities, as well as at major and regional events and festivals.
Along with the vehicle drives, each test drive location will be a free wireless internet hotspot for visitors. This will allow visitors to share their Fiesta experiences immediately following the drive, providing the online community real-time updates about the test-drive events.
"Providing digital capabilities at each test drive location is symbolic of the way that the Fiesta Movement connects consumers to each other and facilitates two-way communication between Ford and potential customers," Fontaine explained. "This campaign is about providing honest reviews and accessible outlets to promote and learn about the Fiesta."
Five teams comprised of five Ford Fiestas that will criss-crossing the country from event to event. For the larger major events, multiple test drive teams will pair up in order to meet higher consumer traffic and demand. Other stops will be set up by individual teams working to "intercept" consumers at locations such as amusement parks, shopping centers, college campuses and other high-traffic areas.
Those who complete a test drive will receive a downloadable music playlist that was compiled with the Fiesta and its audience in mind. Test drivers also will be eligible to win the grand prize – two all-expense paid trips for two to attend top music festivals in Chicago, New Orleans and Indio, Calif. Trips also include VIP/backstage passes and VIP access to Spin magazine's after party for the events selected.
Information about drive stops, including monthly calendars, is available on www.fiestamovement.com under the "Ride & Drive" section. Visitors to the site can also sign up to receive test drive updates, as they become available.
The Fiesta Movement
These drives are just one element of the Fiesta Movement. In April, Ford selected 100 trendsetters who will test drive and "live" with a European version of the Ford Fiesta for six months, traveling as an "agent" on special "missions" and relating their experiences through a variety of social media platforms.
More than 4,100 people applied for the chance to be part of the Movement and a large majority created videos for YouTube, which have already garnered an excess of one million total views.
The chosen agents are socially vibrant, unique and able to tell a good story. They come from all across the country and work in a variety of occupations. But most importantly, they have established social networks with a strong Web presence. Most have hundreds, if not thousands, of Facebook friends. There also are thousands of people following them on Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and other social networking sites. Overall, the agents have a combined reach of over four million people.
This month, each Fiesta Movement agent chose their first monthly mission. Based on the theme of travel, all of the missions are designed to engage with people in their Ford Fiesta. The adventures include recreating travel scenes from famous movies, taking friends on road trips, turning the Fiesta into an ice cream truck or hosting a "fiesta" inside the Fiesta. Agents will then generate content based on their mission to share with their social networks. Future themes include technology, social activism, adventure, style & design and entertainment.
In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding driving dynamics, design and value. The all-new Ford Fiesta is taking that three-decade heritage to U.S. consumers for the first time.
The Fiesta already is a hit in Europe and Asia, where it went on sale last year and earlier this year, respectively. With this year's European sales now totaling over 108,000, the Fiesta is the best-selling Ford model in Europe so far in 2009. Since it made its debut in August 2008, sales of the new Fiesta have totaled almost 170,000 and the car already is making a significant contribution to Ford of Europe's market share improvement. Early response from buyers in China and other Asia-Pacific markets also is outstripping company expectations.
In March, the Fiesta overtook the Volkswagen Golf as Europe's most popular model, outselling the Golf by more than 6,000 units. The Fiesta is now the company's fastest-selling model ever, with the 250,000th vehicle coming off the Cologne, Germany assembly line just nine months after the car went on sale.
In 2010, the Fiesta will be produced at plants in North America, Europe and Asia for sale in markets around the world. The Fiesta for the North American market will be built at Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.