Ford teamed up with social game developer Zynga to host what has been dubbed the world’s largest Words with Friends – a Scrabble-like social game in which players compete against each other by creating words - to promote its 2013 Escape model. The game was made available on Facebook, as well as iPhone and Android devices; thus, in one foul swoop, the brand was proactively able to engage millions of prospects.
For one hour on November 15, from 11:00pm to midnight, fans in the U.S. could collectively play Words with Friends against celebrity Jenny McCarthy at an event in Los Angeles. Pico has created the venue with a full reveal photo of the new 2013 Ford Escape exposed on giant screens, lending an instant involvement hitherto not enjoyed by the wider ‘public’ and manufacturer as the new Escape debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And the mechanics of the promotion were simplicity itself, with players submitting word suggestions via live-stream chat. The game was also live-streamed on www.facebook.com/fordescape and livestream.com/ford so that fans at home could play as well.
Director of U.S. Marketing Communications for Ford Matt Van Dyke hit the nail on the head when he said, “By revealing the new Escape through a popular social game like Words with Friends, Ford was able to expand its reach beyond traditional social channels to mobile platforms that engage a broader audience - a broader audience that included young professionals, who were the prime target for this particular initiative."
Words with Friends is selected because of its 20-million player following and their passion for the game. To drum up interest in the promotion, the auto giant prepared the ground within the game itself, which it complemented with invitations to compete on Facebook.
But the viral ‘assault’ didn’t end there. The Words with Friends event in LA was only the first in a series of social gaming initiatives comprising Escape Routes, an upcoming online interactive reality series featuring six teams of two that will traverse the US competing in virtual and real-life challenges. Casting for Escape Routes began around the same time the vehicle was unveiled at the show and is set to premiere on a variety of digital platforms in the Spring of 2012.
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