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Ford communication plan seeks to ‘pull’ customers to yet-to-be-available Fiesta

03-November-2005
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Ford communication plan seeks to ‘pull’ customers to yet-to-be-available Fiesta

With the Fiesta scheduled for launch on November 15, Ford is shifting gears on communication around the new launch. Following the ‘Dura’ campaign, it has embarked on a ‘pull’ campaign encouraging prospective car buyers to fuel themselves with information on the Fiesta, before making a purchase decision.

On day one of the campaign, a staggering 18,200 SMSes were received, according to V Sivaramakrishnan, VP-Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford India. He said, “From a consumer’s point of view, Dussera and Diwali are triggers for a long festival season ahead. There is also a big buying period in December, and through this period, the employed professionals segment is also in receipt of bonuses from their companies. We have consistently tried to cater to this purchase period with innovative schemes.”

The spokesperson explained that the Rs 7,999 EMI option on Fusion, the ‘Save Rs 80,000’ scheme on Ikon, and many others are part of the festive bouquet. Underlining the significance of incentivising festive offerings, he added that 27 per cent of Ikon customers were first-time car buyers.

The print ads currently on for Fiesta display a STOP sign, urging car buyers to seek information on the soon to be launched Fiesta through an SMS. Calls are then placed along the cycle to give them information on the test drive dates and the availability of multiple engines. Details on prices, variants and other specifics will however be shared only around November 15.

Anita Gupta, GM and Senior VP, JWT Chennai, said, "The entire campaign has been planned through to the launch, with a view to creating a buzz around the brand rather than do a standard 'To be launched shortly' series. We started with how excited the Ford engineers are, and a huge amount of excitement and anticipation are being built up. Through the campaign, we are increasing the 'drool value' for the brand, and prospective car buyers have taken to it well, as expected."

While JWT is the agency handling creative for Ford, M1 has created the platform and activated the response mechanism, which is being handled by RMG Connect. Mindshare handles the media duties.

Madan Sanglikar, Business Director, M1 Worldwide, said, “The whole point is to build excitement and make people delay the decision until the new launch happens -- for Fiesta to be a considered choice before the buying decision is made. We wanted to gauge the response from customers and to create a response mechanism to give them the info. There has been excellent response, and this goes to show that the excitement created so far is being felt in the market.”

Over the last 15 days, Dura as a brand was talked about. After creating the hype about the technology that is to be part of Fiesta, came the PR launch by Bill Ford himself in Delhi.

The ad welcoming Bill Ford to India was another creative that has been received very well. Said Gupta, “It started with a visit to the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn early this year, where the creative head of the account, G.N. Mohan, came out and said he wanted to write an ad about Ford immediately”.

“Going through the history of Ford, the line just emerged: ‘Ford. We started it all.’ Ford, after all, put cars in our lives, right?” explained Mohan.

The opportunity to release the ad presented itself during Bill Ford’s visit to India, and the reception for the ad to receive the man whose great grandfather ‘started it all’, is found in Anita Gupta’s words, “Everyone working on the Ford account globally has been asking us for the copy of the ad. Let’s hope that it becomes an international campaign”.

With Ford’s international launch originating in India, it’s time ad campaigns did too. Meanwhile, the welcome ad has only added more fizz around the Fiesta campaign. One will need to wait till mid-November, though, to figure out if a brand ambassador will be part of the feisty celebrations brewing at Maraimalai Nagar.

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