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Ford Generates Buzz for Electric Vehicles With Consistent Message, Custom Activations

The tour event in Cape May, N.J., was part of Race at the Cape, a historical recreation of famous beach races between Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet. Ford's fuel-efficient vehicles were on display next to antique cars to highlight how automotive technology has advanced since the original races in the early 1900s.

Photo: Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

From social media scavenger hunts to presentations at hotels, state capitols, and museums, Ford Motor Company is hosting 19 events around the country as part of its “Go Further” tour to create excitement and interest in its electric and hybrid vehicles. With nationwide coordination from Ogilvy Public Relations and local execution from regional PR firms, Ford is targeting markets where these types of vehicles are already selling well and creating events that provide information and test-drive opportunities.

“We have chosen to do some experiential things to go into these communities,” said Chad D'Arcy, Ford Focus Electric marketing manager, “to engage influencers and media and really target folks who are advocates and can get the news out about what Ford is offering, instead of using traditional print and TV, which is more of a pull then a push.”

Each event is based on the same message—that Ford’s lineup of electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles gives consumers the “Power of Choice”—but the settings and activities have been tailored to each market.

In Orlando, Ford held its event Thursday at the Peabody Orlando hotel, a property that has embraced a variety of sustainability initiatives including the recent installation of ChargePoint electric vehicle chargers in its parking garage. Two dozen community leaders and members of the media listened to a presentation by D’Arcy, followed by remarks from the Peabody’s director of engineering and the county’s environmental specialist. Attendees then headed to the hotel’s garage to test-drive the vehicles.

In Richmond, Virginia, the activities took place over four days, beginning April 25 with students from Virginia Commonwealth University driving Ford Focus and Escape electric vehicles around town to complete a scavenger hunt and sharing details on Twitter and Facebook. The hunt ended at the state capitol, where Ford unveiled the Focus Electric pace car that was used for the first time three days later in a Nascar Sprint Cup series race at Richmond International Raceway. During the race, Ford hosted six social media influencers, giving them tours of the garage and pit area, discussions with engineers about the electric pace car, and seating in the pit box.

At the Children’s Museum of Phoenix May 17, Ford hosted a breakfast event in conjunction with the Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce. The museum recently installed solar-powered parking covers and two charging stations. The following day, Ford kicked off a two-day event in Cape May, New Jersey, with a cocktail party for area business leaders. The next day several of the company’s fuel-efficient vehicles were displayed alongside antique cars at Race at the Cape, a community event that attracted several hundred spectators.

The tour wraps up June 28 in Washington, D.C. The Focus Electric will launch in the New York City metropolitan area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco this summer. The car will be available in the remaining 15 tour markets later in the year.


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