Challenge: In early 2012, Ford Australia indicated they were eager to highlight their role as a hub for design, technology and engineering both locally and globally. More than ever before, a wide range of media and influencers need to be engaged; the auto industry is no longer confined to the car pages of metro newspapers and technology advances mean that tech influencers are of increasing importance to Ford.
Strategy: Pulse Communications, Ogilvy Public Relations’ consumer public relations firm, suggested that a ‘Dipped in Blue’ immersion event would put the spotlight on design and technology developments being led by Ford Australia whilst also leveraging and building upon current influencer relationships.
Due to the popularity of the idea, Ford Australia decided to provide Ford Asia Pacific markets the opportunity to invite key influencers to the event. In turn, an additional day was allocated for the international media.
In August, tech, automotive and consumer media and influencers were invited to visit Ford Australia Headquarters for a one-day event for hands on demos, product previews, behind the scenes access and exclusive news. On top of this, attendees were also given access to the faces and voices of Ford, such as Ford Australia CEO Bob Graziano, and Chief Engineer Adam Frost. The brand new design centre, complete with the state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Centre and Powerwall room, was opened to media for the first time.
SYNC technology, to be brought to Australia with the release of the new Focus ST, was showcased to the media and influencers by Ed Pleet, Connected Services Director for Ford’s EAPA region. Attendees also experienced Active City Stop and Active Park Assist technologies, further cementing Ford’s place as a market leader in terms of smart technologies.
Results: In total Pulse had 42 consumer, tech and auto media and influencers attend from the Asia Pacific region. Key influencer relationships were strengthened through exclusive behind the scenes access to Ford Headquarters and its design and engineering teams.
In all, the ‘Dipped in Blue’ immersion event allowed Ford Australia to successfully position itself as a market leader in terms of technology and design developments, whilst also demonstrating its commitment to growth and thought leadership.
Left to right (front): Former Ford Australia President and CEO; Bill Dix, Senator Kim Carr, Victorian Premier John Brumby, Ford Australia President and CEO; Marin Burela, and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Federal Secretary Ian Jones
Left to right (rear): Former Ford Performance Racing driver Allan Moffat and Former Ford Australia President and CEO; Sir Brian Inglis
Ford in Australia celebrated two milestones which no other Australian vehicle manufacturer has achieved–85 years of production in Australia and 50 years of the iconic Ford Falcon.
Consumer public relations agency, Pulse was tasked with creating a campaign that celebrated the longevity of Ford and in particular, Falcon by reinforcing its significance in the hearts and minds of Australians who have embraced the car for over 50 years.
Consumer public relations agency, Pulse created two events and a tailored media strategy to generate coverage around Ford’s unique anniversaries.
Firstly, a staged media photo call was held at Ford’s Broadmeadow plant in Melbourne to celebrate the anniversary of the first Falcon rolling off the production line.
Seven Falcons including the first Falcon XK in 1960 and the latest 50th anniversary model were driven off the production line by past Ford Australia presidents, long serving employees and Ford Performance Racing drivers.
The event was witnessed by Victorian Premier, John Brumby and Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
All major metro TV news crews, VIC metro newspapers and radio stations attended and one-to-one interviews were held with Marin Burela, Ford Australia President and CEO.
The same evening, a gala dinner was held at the Ford Discovery Centre (Ford’s museum) in Geelong, Melbourne to celebrate Ford’s 85th anniversary of vehicle manufacturing in Australia.
Geelong is the birthplace of Ford Australia and the dinner aimed to recreate Ford’s early years by turning back the clocks to the 1920’s.
The venue was transformed into an art deco inspired evening and featured the first Ford Model T off the production line in 1925.
Nearly 200 people attended the dinner including key Geelong Football Club members to signify Ford’s 85 year partnership with the Club.
To support the events, consumer public relations agency Pulse developed a tailored media strategy to generate in-depth news and feature coverage on the history of Ford in Australia. Feature angles included profiling Ford’s long-standing employees, the economic contribution Ford has made to Australia and the history of Falcon.
Pulse created b-roll footage using archived Ford materials to visually showcase Ford’s history in Australia. In addition to being shown at the gala dinner, the footage was used as overlay by key metro TV news programs.
To date, Pulse has reached 63 million Australians via 240 pieces of positive coverage including key pieces on Channel 7 news, Sky News, a double page spread in the Herald Sun, The Australian and Australian Financial Review.