At 7:40AM EDT on July 26, the Ford Motor company introduced a major departure in unveiling a new car with the launch of the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook. Departing from the "Mad Men" Days of traditional advertising and revealing a new car on the floor of an Auto Show, Ford chose Social Media to motivate buyers.
As a calculated strategy, this first-time event is drawing a lot more eyeballs to the Facebook site than would ever consider visiting a Auto Show. According to a Mashable report, they've already surpassed 30,000 fans prior to the reveal, which apparently was the threshold to be reached in order for one lucky random fan to win an Explorer of their own.
In this somewhat overly dramatic YouTube video released at exactly 7:40AM EDT, the reveal in my estimation was somewhat anti-climatic. While the supposed "reinvented" Ford Explorer offers more than 30% improvement in fuel economy and has Class III towing capabilities of 5000 pounds, the design is very "familiar" and doesn't appear to be that innovative versus what is on the road today.
But more importantly, if the Ford Explorer was the first to use social media to reveal a new car wouldn't you think you'd hear a lot about the social networking capabilities of the car. Since the Facebook platform is reaching out to a social media savvy audience, it would have made a lot of sense (particularly in this first 'reveal' video) to introduce MyFordTouch, powered by SYNC. Yes, its been introduced previously, but with the new 'reveal' site on Facebook catching so much buzz and attention - now would have been the most appropriate time to talk about how the car is as social media savvy as the campaign.
Here are some of the digitally-advanced features that could have been spotlighted.
- Full Wi-Fi capability including Internet (Internet) “hot spot” connectivity and a built-in browser for use while in “Park” (late availability)
- Integrated browser supports tabbed page navigation, “drag” to pan and scroll and a provides a 3-D carousel for bookmark browsing
- Support for on-screen and USB-connected keyboards
- RSS feed aggregator and text-to-voice reader
- Mobile in-car Wi-Fi “hot spot” capability through USB-installed air card or USB mobile broadband modem
In my estimation, this is a major missed opportunity by a car company that is trying to distinguish itself as moving the needle on technological advancement. Interesting to see if the Facebook reveal translates into increased auto sales for this car company.
- Additional USB port for a total of two USB 2.0 inputs
- SD Card slot
- RCA A/V input jacks