Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) has announced it will team up with Yahoo, Inc on a web-based reality show to help promote its first electric passenger car.
The show, called “Plugged In,” will debut for streaming from Yahoo’s video site starting in early May.
The premise of “Plugged In” is as follows: Three two-person teams will travel to 10 major cities around the country whilst competing in a scavenger hunt.
Naturally, these people will be put in a brand new Ford Focus Electric. Ford hopes this new use of social media advertising will reach younger and more affluent customers for a far lower cost than a traditional marketing scheme. According to comScore data, over sixty million unique visitors come to Yahoo each month to watch videos. This is the kind of number Ford is excited about.
The goal of this series, besides being entertaining, is to help market this new electric car especially to East and West coasters who have gas prices far higher than the national average. With gas hovering around $4.29 here in New York City and nearly $4 elsewhere, it’s no surprise more and more drivers are seeking more fuel-efficient cars.
Now this isn’t the first time Ford has used social media to promote a product. In 2009, it gave out Ford Fiestas to 100 people and asked them to chronicle their experiences in the car using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other sites for six months whilst completing various tasks. The promotion cost $5 million and, according to Ford, the dividends were in line with what a traditional campaign costing $100 million would have yielded.
The Focus Electric is expected to be available by the end of this year in 19 US markets. The price is a little steep at $39,200, but it is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. Throw in your fuel savings and maintenance savings (yes, no need for oil changes, tune-ups and the dozens of other expenses that plague the outdated internal combustion engine), and the price premium isn't all that bad.
And of course, the added bonus of giving the proverbial middle finger to OPEC is certainly the cherry on top.