Carmaker launches entertainment-based marketing effort

Ryan Seacrest on Tuesday launched Ford Motor Co.’s entertainment-based “Random Acts of Fusion” campaign around its redesigned Fusion midsize sedan.

Transmedia effort will play out across a variety of channels, driven by digital, events, radio, TV and social media, with Seacrest plugging the promo through his projects.

Ford chose Seacrest because it had been “indirectly in business with him” through its sponsorship of “American Idol” since show’s launch, said Crystal Worthem, manager of Ford brand content and alliances. “We wanted to set up a real relationship with Ryan.”

Kickoff features an online video of Seacrest asking viewers to generate 1,000 likes on Fusion’s Facebook page to unlock the next installment of the campaign. A TV spot starts airing July 9. Seacrest, who called the promo “a very entertaining and surprising interactive consumer initiative,” is one of several celebs, including “Community” star Joel McHale, whom Ford has lined up around Fusion.

“We are taking a completely unique approach to introduce the new Fusion with a transmedia program, launching this transformational vehicle that over-delivers with its distinctive blend of style, intelligence and technology,” said Jim Farley, Ford group VP of marketing, sales and service. “Combining social media, entertainment and unexpected consumer experiences will allow us to connect with audiences through every type of media, introducing Fusion’s profile larger than ever.”

“Random Acts of Fusion” is the latest branded entertainment project Ford has produced after launching “Fiesta Movement” and “Escape Routes” reality Web series around its smaller Fiesta and new Escape SUV.

Ford hopes the project will get car buyers excited about the sedan before the sedan rolls into showrooms this fall.

“We wanted to do something cool to introduce it to people months before it’s available in dealerships,” while also reaching as broad of an audience as possible, especially younger car buyers, who Ford is trying to target with Fusion, Worthem said.

The midsize car category is a highly competitive one, especially among millenials, who are entering their 30s.

“You’ve got to establish a relationship with them,” Worthem said. “If you don’t have a foot in the door with them now, you’re definitely missing an opportunity.”

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