Ford Gambles On Yahoo To Help Them Go Electric

Every time I fill up my car petrol prices seem to have risen again. A gambling man might say that the time of the electric car could be upon us. Well Ford have certainly taken a bet on Yahoo as they choose them to launch their social media campaign which will spear head their efforts to try connect with the younger more affluent “millennial” market.

Yahoo themselves have been in turmoil in recent years firing three CEOs in five years who havent been able to figure out how to stop sliding revenues and to capitalize on the increasing online advertising industry.

Yahoo decline, Yahoo 1st quarter results, fiesta movement, plugged inGoogle’s annual revenue has increased from $22 billion in 2008 to nearly $38 billion last year while Facebook’s annual revenue has soared from $272 million to $3.7 billion during the same period. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s annual revenue has crumbled from $7.2 billion in 2007 to $5 billion last year.

Yahoo recently lured Scott Thompson away from eBays Inc.’s PayPal in the hopes that he could come up with a better plan. He was quick to lay off 2,000 employees, or about 14 percent of Yahoo’s workforce, earlier this month, and is expected to give his vision for moving Yahoo forward after their first quarter results are announced next week.

Ford’s vote of confidence will come as a welcome boost but only time will tell if it will pay off. The campaign will center around a “reality competition” which sounds remarkably like a mini version of the amazing race to me.

The web series named “Plugged In,” will show two-person teams in various locations following clues and eventually meeting in a Los Angeles finale to try to win a Focus Electric. The ten minute episodes will be broadcasted on Yahoo’s streaming video site starting in May.

plugged in, yahoo, social media, web series

John Felice, general manager of Ford marketing said “I’m not going to say that TV and traditional media doesn’t play a role, but this is going to be exclusively an online launch,” 

Sixty-one million unique visitors come to Yahoo each month to watch videos, Ford said on Tuesday, citing comScore data. Viewers of the “Plugged In” reality show will be encouraged to post comments and engage with the videos. Right now there’s no indication how they will be encouraged….

Its not surprising that ford has turned to social media again after previous success with its “Fiesta movement” campaign where they gave out cars to 100 people and asked them to complete tasks and chronicle their activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other websites for six months.

Ford spent $5 million on the campaign to promote the model, which was returning to the U.S. market after two decades, in the year before its 2010 launch. After that campaign, 60 percent of Americans said they were familiar with the Fiesta brand.

Ford highlighted the incredible return on investment at a shareholder meeting that year suggesting getting the same results from traditional media would have cost in the region of  $100 million.

But with so much content available out there now are people really going to tune into a declining web platform to watch some people compete for an electric car?! Especially the mid thirty something year olds with enough money to afford the $40,000 electric car that Ford are aiming at?

Well we will have to wait and see if Ford’s Yahoo gamble pays off.


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