Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

For those of us in the U.S., we have just celebrated Thanksgiving. It's a time of year when we gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate and give thanks for all that we have and all that we are.

I thought it was entirely appropriate then, to mention that the first segments of Ford's famed Fiesta Movement is coming to a close. And Ford has a lot to be thankful for. A bit of background, just in case you're not familiar with the program.

The Beginning of a Movement
First of all, why the term "movement"? The Brand & Content Alliance team that put this program together likened it to a social movement - which as defined by dictionary.com is a diffusely organized or heterogeneous group of people or organizations tending toward or favoring a generalized common goal. The collective awareness of and excitement around this new vehicle would be the goal.

In late 2008, Ford re-launched the Fiesta as an all-new vehicle in Europe. The name had been around for some 30 years, but the new Fiesta was to be something special indeed. This would Ford's first truly global platform car, which means that it will be nearly identical in any country you find it. Since the car was already available in Europe and would not launch in the U.S. until the spring of 2010, there was a unique opportunity at hand.

So, earlier this year, Ford announced that we would be making 100 Euro-spec Fiestas available to individuals or teams who proved they were socially vibrant and could take part in a 6-month long experiment, during which we would loan them a vehicle. The only requirement was that they would have to produce one video a month based on a theme (Travel, Technology, Style/Design, Social Activism, Adventure, Entertainment). Other than that, the Fiesta Agents (they received assignments, or "missions," from Mission Control) could say whatever they wanted about the vehicle. And we aggregated all of their content on fiestamovement.com - unedited, uncensored, in real time.

In addition to building buzz, we solicited feedback from the agents as to what they liked and didn't like about the vehicle. We shared that input directly with our engineering team and they were able to make a few tweaks to the North American version of the Fiesta before production was locked down.

The program is just winding to a close, but the output has been impressive.
  • Of the 700 or so videos that the agents have produced, we've seen 6.5 million views on YouTube.
  • Their Flickr photos have been viewed more than 670,000 times
  • There have been over 3.4 million impressions of Fiesta Movement on Twitter.
  • Over 50,000 hand-raisers have indicated that they want more information about the vehicle as it goes on sale
  • 97% of those 50,000 do not own Ford vehicles.
  • There is a 58% level of awareness of the Fiesta - for a vehicle that's not even available in this country yet, which is the equivalent of the awareness of some of our vehicles that have been in market for 2-3 years.
  • All with $0 in traditional advertising.
More information on the vehicle and the program can be found on Ford's Media site.

It's a Celebration
To help celebrate the success of our agents, Ford is throwing a little party - a fiesta of sorts, you might say - in Hollywood on Tuesday, December 1. We're hoping to make it the world's largest tweetup - and you're invited. Not only that, but as a community, we can work together to make the record a possibility. More on that in a moment.

The event will salute the agents - some 90% of whom will be in attendance - with awards. The band Parachute will perform and music will be spun by DJ Pesce, all while Current TV roams around, giving you a chance to be seen on television. Not to mention that the North American Ford Fiesta will be revealed for the first time. Add to that some celebrities, weblebrities and lots of interaction, and you've got a rockin' party.

Here's Where You Come In
We'd love to see you at the party. Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Location: Hollywood Palladium, 6215 W. Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA (map)

You can RSVP on Eventbrite if you think you'll be in California next week. If not, please share the link with anyone in your network who might be in the area and encourage them to attend. There are a number of social networks built into Eventbrite, or you can tweet out something like this:

Ford Invites You To a Hollywood Fiesta! http://bit.ly/FiestaParty

We'd like to make sure we've got lots of people there who are connected to the program, the agents, or to our extended networks in some way. This is a great way to show the power of social media.

Giving Thanks
As I intoned in the opening paragraph, this time of year is about giving thanks and also about reflecting on what's happened in the past year. I'm reminded of Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town," in which the characters were reminded that it's important to stop and consider the little things in life. One of them lamented:

"It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another."

You can imagine that the Fiesta Agents, with their frenetic schedules over the last six months, have had little time to reflect. But already, even before the program is over, I've already seen a few of them stop to acknowledge how lucky they've been to be part of the program. Notably Hilary McHone (aka @BrooklynHilary) and Natasha Wescoat (@natasha). There may be others; these are the ones I recall seeing in a blur last week.

We have a lot to be thankful for at Ford this year. But that will be another post. Until then, I hope I'll be able to see you in Hollywood. If you can't be there, follow the #fiestamovement hashtag on Twitter on Tuesday night. It'll be a real fiesta.

Related article: Ford's Got a Reason to Fiesta