Ford Australia is one of four research and development hubs for Ford globally. And, with a brand new virtual reality centre and newly refurbished design centre, we had the perfect forum to host media and show them the innovation that the Australian team brings to the world – and how they do it.
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.