Initially introduced in Europe, where its commercial sibling Transit Connect was twice named International Van of the Year, the new Ford Transit Connect Wagon was ready for its prime-time debut in the U.S. consumer market in 2014.
Car manufacturers approach model launches by presenting the vehicles at shows, soliciting reviews, providing dealerships with marketing collateral, and a mass media advertising effort. The challenge for the team was to introduce the Transit Connect Wagon in the summer of 2014 before product reviews, with minimal traditional advertising support, including little to any TV, or specific dealer events.
Furthermore, given that a large part Ford’s marketing emphasis focused on two key models in 2014 – Mustang and F-150 – the team faced the additional challenge of creating a communications campaign on a very small budget by Ford’s standards.
To roll out the red carpet in the U.S. for the Ford Transit Connect Wagon, Ford came to LDWW. Rather than relying on the usual strategies, Ford issued a challenge: to do it all with no traditional advertising or events.
After identifying a target audience of “Impassioned Indies”- fiercely independent, young, trendsetting buyers – Ford and LDWW set about by creating a comprehensive social media campaign. After extensive research on different social media influencers that were, and would reach, “Impassioned Indies,” nine were selected (with a tenth added later) and sent off on what became the known as the #unminivanmoments road trip. These influencers followed routes through 22 different states that celebrated the uniqueness of America and oddball attractions, and in turn, the Transit Connect Wagon.
The campaign was promoted through each influencers’ own social media as well as Ford’s. For 12 weeks, the 10 members interacted with the public, in person and online, and generated an impressive amount of attention for the Transit Connect Wagon. By the end of the #unminivanmoments campaign, more than 8.8 million people had been reached through 1,000 tweets, 150 Facebook posts, and 250+ Instagram photos. Ford was even more pleased with the sales results- at its peak, the campaign reached a 42% increase in sales, with an overall increase over three months of 27%.