Even though reviews have been kind to the Ford Fusion hybrid IRL, the car's Facebook presence isn't getting the same kind of love. A new Facebook application called "You Speak Green" is currently rated at just 1.2 out of 5 stars by the people who have used it so far. One reviewer writes, "Sneaky advertising for a car, of all things, masquerading as a 'green' application. Shameful." So not everyone's a fan, even though 15,000 people have taken the app out for a test drive.

Ford, though, thinks that this application is a good idea, and that getting people to share how they're being eco-conscious supports " engage consumers on their own terms." To match the SmartGauge cluster in the Fusion Hybrid, the app features a vine that grows each time a user adds their two cents. The vine is meant to demonstrate "the power of a collective effort through recycling, water conservation and other actions," which we really can't quibble with.


[Source: Ford]



PRESS RELEASE:

'FUSION + HYBRID' FACEBOOK FRIENDS FLOCK TO 'YOU SPEAK GREEN' APP AS SALES HIT RECORD LEVELS

SUMMARY:

* Ford has expanded its presence on the popular social networking site Facebook with a new application for its "Fusion + Hybrid" profile called "You Speak Green" that enables visitors to share their sustainable lifestyle suggestions
* The app (http://apps.facebook.com/ford-fusion/) features a vine graphic that grows with each new eco-conscious comment and is inspired by the Fusion Hybrid's innovative instrument cluster that uses similar "efficiency leaves" to encourage eco-friendly driving
* "You Speak Green" is the latest example of how Ford is engaging consumers on sites such as YouTube and Twitter to promote the free exchange of ideas and experiences that support a sustainable lifestyle in which personal transportation can be both responsible and fun
* The launch of the new Facebook app coincided with an all-time record sales increase for Fusion's gas and hybrid models

CONTEXT / BACKGROUND:

Debbie Santiago is turning off the lights when she leaves a room. Frances Ruiz is avoiding plastic water bottles in favor of an aluminum bottle. And Kameel Zakaria is using a rain barrel for watering his garden. These are just a few of the more than 15,000 people who have shared "green" lifestyle tips on the new "Fusion + Hybrid" Facebook app called "You Speak Green" – the latest example of Ford's campaign to engage consumers on their own terms.

DETAILS:

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are more popular than ever. That's why Ford has increased its presence in the digital space to better enable an open dialogue with consumers about sustainable lifestyle choices in which personal transportation can be both environmentally responsible and fun.

Data suggest that social media sites are increasingly one of the best ways to reach out to consumers. According to Nielsen Company research, the total minutes spent on social networking sites in the U.S. has increased in 2009 by 83 percent year-over-year. Total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009, the most recent month reported.

The new Ford Fusion "You Speak Green" Facebook app is designed to encourage people to talk about ways to live sustainably and features a vine graphic that grows with each new eco-conscious comment, demonstrating the power of a collective effort through recycling, water conservation and other actions. Its design was inspired by the Fusion Hybrid's innovative SmartGauge™ instrument cluster, which uses a similar leafy vine that grows as the motorist drives more fuel efficiently.

The app, which Ford created in collaboration with Wunderman-Team Detroit and social technology provider Vitrue, is an interactive component of the online "We Speak Car" campaign (http://www.fordvehicles.com/2010fusion/) that debuted in March. Since the app's mid-July launch, more than 104,000 Facebook users have downloaded it to their profile pages and 15,000 have posted tips.

Another example of Ford's groundbreaking social media outreach is its support of the Fiesta Movement campaign to promote the company's sporty, savvy new small car through social media agents. Agent postings have garnered significant numbers on social media sites, including more than 3.5 million YouTube views (www.fiestamovement.com), more than 440,000 Flickr views and more than 2.7 million Twitter impressions.

Fusion's sales momentum
As more consumers become aware of the Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid's fuel efficiency and innovative technologies, sales for both models are achieving all-time records. For August, Ford Fusion retail sales were up 132 percent year-over-year – a sales record.

Familiarity and favorable opinion of the Ford Fusion brand also is on the rise by as much as 65 percent compared with last year. There is increased interest in the Fusion by import shoppers, with almost half of Toyota Camry shoppers now putting the Fusion and Fusion Hybrid on their lists.

More than half of the Fusion and Fusion Hybrid's buyers are leaving competitive brands, with 60 percent of Fusion Hybrid customers abandoning imports. Customers also are choosing well-equipped and fuel-efficient models, with the I-4 and Fusion Hybrid accounting for 71 percent of sales. Customers are also embracing Fusion technology offerings like navigation, SYNC® and Sony® Audio.

QUOTES:

"The user response to the Fusion Facebook 'You Speak Green' app has been outstanding. By providing users tools to support and amplify their self expression and their point of view, we veer away from being intrusive and start to build a true relationship. That relationship will build brand awareness and consideration in an authentic way."
– Adam Barrow,
Ford digital marketing analyst

"Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, in particular, are attracting many car buyers to Ford dealerships who are new to the brand, and Ford's presence on social media sites like Facebook is helping to drive showroom traffic by increasing awareness of the Fusion's great fuel economy and innovative technologies."
– Greg Scott,
Fusion and Fusion Hybrid marketing manager

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
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