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Ford: Ads For C-Max Hybrids Gain Traction with New Customers

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mattroush Matt Roush
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DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. says its new C-Max hybrids are gaining momentum with new customers and are luring more Toyota hybrid owners out of their cars and into Ford’s new hybrids.

Ford contends that some of that momentum is coming from the advertising campaign for C-Max Hybrid, which launched last fall as the vehicle hit showrooms, helping the C-Max Hybrid become the fastest-selling hybrid ever at launch.

Preliminary Nielsen data show the “La Linea” ad campaign for C-Max hybrids is resonating well with consumers. Initial results show the campaign’s message communication, brand communication and purchase consideration are significantly higher than the norm – helping Ford to continue building awareness for this all-new nameplate. 

“We had a strong launch and are pleased with the overall reception of the C-Max launch campaign,” said C.J. O’Donnell, marketing and strategy manager, Ford Electrified Vehicles. “But this is just a start; we intend to take a much larger share of the hybrid market.”

As part of a plan to increase awareness and build on the momentum of the successful 2012 launch, Ford will continue C-Max’s unique advertising campaign in 2013 – from billboards, gas pump screens, TV spots and movie theater screens to “American Idol.” 

The next wave of the campaign starts where the first phase left off, with two new TV spots featuring the main character from the animated series “La Linea” who acts out playful poetry read by the narrator and designed to showcase the many features of Ford C-Max.

C-Max will also pop up on various other TV shows, including the new ABC reality cooking show “The Taste.”

And details are being finalized for C-Max Hybrid to once again hit the road as part of the Go Further Tour and Green Festivals relationship that, in 2012, gave more than 16,000 people around the U.S. a chance to test drive and experience – most for the first time ever – an electrified vehicle.

The goal is to get Ford hybrid vehicles in front of as many people as possible and ultimately, to continue building market share – Ford’s share of the hybrid market grew nearly 9 percentage points between December 2011 and December 2012, while Toyota’s share dropped 8 points.

Additionally, initial sales data show C-Max hybrids are bringing new customers to the Ford brand, with conquest rates remaining above 60 percent since launch; Toyota Prius and Honda CR-V hold the top competitive trade-in spots. One-third of all C-Max sales take place in the Midwest (Great Lakes and Central regions), an area where hybrid sales have historically been lower. 

The C-Max Hybrid ad campaign launched in October – the first full month C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi were at dealerships – and consisted of TV commercials, an online series of webisodes called “Hybrid Games,” and experiential elements through the Go Further Tour and Green Festivals relationship.

The main character from the animated “La Linea” series popularized in the U.S. in the late 1970s and ’80s stars in the TV spots. In the ads, the character is put into troubling situations involving his car that can only be solved through the comfort and convenience of a Ford C-Max. However, Ford takes on C-Max competition even more playfully. For example, in one spot that highlights the greater horsepower of C-Max versus the competition, the narrator quotes C-MAX as saying, “Wheeee!”

The unique campaign’s digital components are also gaining traction among viewers.

Internal Ford data show webisodes of “Hybrid Games” performing well beyond original projections. As of Dec. 31, these webisodes were viewed nearly 417,000 times via Ford.com – double the goal.

C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi are two of five electrified vehicles Ford has launched in the last 18 months. The others are Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

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