Program to promote new Ford Focus Electric representing unique marketing approach to electric vehicle market
Casting is now under way in 10 U.S. cities
Ford and Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), the premier digital media company, today announced a new program to promote the launch of America's most fuel-efficient five-seat car, the Focus Electric, with "Plugged In," Yahoo!'s first reality competition series. Beginning in May and timed to the availability of Focus Electric in multiple U.S. markets, the series is being broadcast exclusively on Yahoo! Screen (screen.yahoo.com) - Yahoo!'s video destination. Plugged In features two-person teams competing against each other in a series of challenges centered on the chance to win a Ford Focus Electric. Viewers are encouraged to share comments about each episode and upload photos of favorite places in their hometown to a special Flickr group page created for the program. Magical Elves, an Emmy Award-winning production company, is producing the series. "Ford is launching the Focus Electric on Yahoo!, once again recognizing the power and reach of the Web as we continue to rely more on digital media," says Matt VanDyke, director, U.S. Marketing Communications for Ford. "The electric vehicle market will grow over time, so we electrified our popular small-car platform with a targeted online campaign instead of creating a one-off vehicle with huge ad budgets." Plugged In competition locations include Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Raleigh, N.C.; and Boston. A celebrity, serving as the hometown's personal insider, kicks off each episode and provides clues that require contestants to complete various tasks and challenges while exploring and discovering hidden cultural gems and "best of" locations in their city. The winning teams in each city move on to participate in the finale event in Los Angeles, where they will compete with teams from other regions for the chance to win the Ford Focus Electric. The Focus Electric plays a prominent role in the competition as the car's SYNC ® with MyFord Touch ®system will be how teams receive video, text and audio clues for the content. In addition, the car's navigation capabilities are used to help teams get from point to point, and hands-free calling will be used when the contest requires teams to make calls. "Innovative brands like Ford are playing a key role in the growth of online video, especially when the approach starts with the creative elements and storytelling. When the product integration is truly organic, as it is here, the overall consumer experience is enhanced," said Erin McPherson, vice president and head of Video at Yahoo!. "We drew from insights we have about our audience - namely, that they are passionate about celebrity-related content, and that they love travel - and together with Ford, we developed a high-energy reality competition in which the Focus Electric plays a key role. We will then program the series in the context of our other leading media properties, resulting in a highly immersive video experience." With 61 million unique visitors per month* who come to Yahoo! to watch video and 21 of the top original online video programs**, Yahoo! sets the bar for best-in-class original video programming. With a recently launched video destination, Yahoo! Screen, the development of women's and comedy slates, and partnerships with world-class storytellers, creative partners and original voices, Yahoo! continues to build on the leadership position in video and to provide its consumers and advertisers with the best premium content online.