Ford tactical campaign: Case Study

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How Ford used newsbrands' various platforms to deliver tactical campaign.

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Ford tactical campaign: Case Study

  1. 1. Executive Summary Ford are known for their innovative partnerships across many different media. But as the UK’s leading car manufacturer, tactical campaigns are vital for protecting all-important market share of new car sales. They are a regular national press advertiser, who have to assert both quality and value for money in their messaging. For their Q3 activity we took the opportunity to adopt a truly ‘newsbrand’ approach, which answered their brief and helped deliver sales leads vital to the wider campaign. Background & Objectives With Southern European economies still floundering, car sales across Europe are struggling. With that being the case, Ford have put an even greater onus this year on delivering UK sales to cover other markets’ shortfall. As the leading car manufacturer in the UK (13.8% market share), Ford continue to face competition from Vauxhall and Volkswagen, and to a lesser extent the lower end models of luxury brands such as BMW and Audi. The recession in the UK has meant that both price and value for money have becoming increasingly important factors in automotive purchase (now above style, comfort and even safety), so it was clear from an early stage that the activity needed to communicate the fact that Ford’s product range offers value for money in addition to excellent vehicle technologies and of course a great drive. With Fiesta being the biggest-selling car in the country and Focus third, Ford chose these nameplates to lead their tactical sales activity, along with B-MAX and Ka. The objective was simple: sales. This means using media to drive consumers onto garages’ forecourts for test drives, put also to engage with them earlier in the purchase funnel by equipping them with dealers’ sales brochures. To do this with print alone would have either meant the implementation of an unfamiliar direct response mechanism or the usage of weighty, expensive and potentially wasteful loose inserts. Insight & Strategy The role for communications was to create broad national awareness of the Ford tactical messaging, but also to reach all of our target audiences while they were active in the consideration phase. This meant that our planned media behaviour was to be very targeted, by using relevant environments for the varying audiences. We quickly realised that this meant newsbrands, but we’d struggle to deliver on Ford’s need for quantifiable sales leads (test drives and brochure requests) through the usage of newsprint alone. As such our strategy was to use newsbrands to target consumers at all three stages of the purchase funnel. Firstly: newspapers’ huge numbers would drive our reach and fulfil our awareness objective, making everyone aware of the great value for money Ford were offering. Secondly: we’d run highly interactive tablet activity with these same core newsbrands; so
  2. 2. that once aware of the offers readers could then learn about each of the vehicles in a more engaging and intuitive way. Finally: we would then use the newsbrands’ respective sites to target users specifically in the market for a new car, and drive them onto Ford’s own channels where they could find more information and request both brochures and test drives. In this way we would reach our target audiences at all possible stages of their route to purchase, and edge them towards choosing a Ford. The Plan After selecting core newsbrand partners that would offer us the most cost-effective means of reaching our target audiences across all their different platforms (Times, Telegraph and Guardian), we set to work building a highly targeted campaign yet broad-reaching campaign. In print we launched with pages to drive impact, followed by smaller fractional sizes to maintain frequency. For our tablet activity, we quickly realised that whilst it would be simple to requisition old digital assets to create our digital banners, MPU’s and skies, it was clear that we required more specialist expertise to build our tablet insertions. So we enlisted the help of Adnostic, who built bespoke tablet creatives for us for all four campaign nameplates. These not only allowed readers to preview each of the vehicles and find out about Ford’s more detailed financing options, but they worked with the same build of animation as used in Ford’s digital outdoor activity (ie; escalator panels), ensuring consistency of messaging across very different media. For our digital activity on the newsbrands’ sites we either bought impactful roadblocks on motoring homepages (destinations for anyone interested in cars) or we targeted users based on their web history. If they had come onto the newsbrand’s site from an automotive one or had recently viewed or searched automotive listings, they were targeted with frequency-capped Ford inventory. This kept our costs down and ensured we were fulfilling our buying strategy of specifically targeting users actively searching for a new car. Results In addition to delivering a minimum of 90% coverage and a frequency of 8 OTS against each of our seven target audiences, our digital and tablet activity drove.brochure.requests.and.test.drives.

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