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Ford, the only one of the big three U.S. car makers that didn’t file for bankruptcy during the global financial crisis, is leading the pack with its marketing strategy focused on social media. In a move away from traditional and TV marketing, Ford North America’s marketing boss Jim Farley believes he can get more out of Social Media sites and the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

In an interview with Automotive News, Farley said modern consumers are spending around the same time on the internet or on their smart phones as they are sitting on the couch watching TV, so he is pushing more of his company’s advertising revenue online.

Although not abandoning traditional media completely, Farley, 48, believes the best way to connect to younger people and conquer consumer skepticism is to “break into their world”. Being with them whilst they are engaging online.

Critics will find it hard to argue that his strategy isn’t working, given Ford’s U.S. sales have increased 19 percent year-to-date compared with about 10% industry wide.

Ford currently spends over 25 percent of its advertising budget online, about twice the average of other brands.

The company recently used social media to help launch the new Fiesta which according to Farley  helped boost awareness of the new model above the likes of Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. Ford reportedly spent only 1/10th of its budget launching the Fiesta thanks to cheaper online marketing alternatives.

The Blue Oval is currently running a competition to attract the best 100 bloggers, Facebook fans and Social media lovers to drive the 2012 Ford Focus in Europe early next year.

On the other side of the fence, General Motors has stuck to its guns and has gone back to pushing big advertising dollars into traditional media (such as planned Superbowl advertisements which cost around $3 million for 30 seconds).

  • Valet Dabess

    awesome. i barely even watch tv anymore, always on the internet. maybe they should pay some of the famous youtubers to advertise their stuff

    • Kinglo

      Social media is a waste of human life.

      • http://www.caradvice.com Macs for me

        I few issue’s there..next time tell us what you really think..lol

        • http://www.caradvice.com Macs for me

          That should be A not I..sorry, social posters cant even get the words right

          • Adam

            It’s alright, Macs have poor keyboards.

      • Trouble

        @Kinglo – Forgive me if you are intentionally being Ironic, but you’ve just used a form of social media to say that.

  • Andrew M

    Although Im not a fan of social online diary type of sites, it is clever marketing.

    • http://CarAdvice The Salesman

      A great idea. But It was to be expected. History shows media has always been a vehicle for advertising. How long was it after radio, TV, VHS, Press ect that we started hearing and seeing ads?

  • Daniel

    The problem with social networking, is the PR firms can’t keep honest accounting (deemed negative publicity) from being spread. Bloggers will be far more resistant to pressure to drop blog posts or comments that are harmful to Fords image, irrespective if they have some truth to them or not.

    Like most things it will be a double edged sword. One thing is for sure, Ford Australia’s 1970’s view of the world has hurt their sales as customers and potential customers discuss onlne, their experiences with the brand and the dealer network.

    They do need to embrance online, but they also need to realise this medium is much more powerful and critical then print or telly ever was.