NEW YORK — Ford Motor Co. will promote the launch of the Focus Electric with Plugged In, the first reality competition series from the digital media pioneer Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO).
Beginning in May and timed to the availability of Focus Electric across American markets, the series is being broadcast exclusively on Yahoo Screen, http://screen.yahoo.com, Yahoo’s video page. 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 infotainment 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.
Yahoo offers 61 million unique visitors per month who come to Yahoo to watch video and 21 of the top original online video programs.
Team casting is under way and negotiations with the celebrities from each hometown are being finalized. The celebrities and schedule will be announced within the next few weeks.
The Plugged In campaign is paired with Ford’s electrified vehicle Web site at www.ford.com/technology/electric/, including a “Ford for Me” that allows consumers to describe their driving habits so the best electrified vehicle technology can be matched to their needs. More than 200,000 visitors already have visited the Ford site.
Focus Electric has been rated at 110 miles per gallon equivalent in the city and 99 MPGe highway, and operates entirely on battery-generated power. Ford is ramping up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of 2012 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By year-end, Focus Electric becomes available in 19 markets across the United States.