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Using Digital Marketing to Recover a Failing Brand | Ford Focus

Posted on 11th February, by Tom Williams in Case Studies, Digital Marketing. 1 Comment

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The Ford Focus was not a good brand. In fact, the brand was in such bad shape that there were online groups dedicated to hating on the Focus. So put yourself in Ford’s shoes for a minute… would you kill the brand or try to save it?

Ford decided that the brand, although not well liked or respected, still had a ton of recognition… and that is real value. They decided to try to save the brand using some creative digital marketing.

The Ford marketing team, led by Scott Monty, knew they needed something radical to turn the tide, which is very difficult at any large company. They needed to go rogue.

Ford hired an agency and created a series of webisodes using a hilarious puppet named Doug. Apparently HR was not too pleased with the artistic direction, but they don’t control the ad budget, so Ford went forward with the webisodes. They went after the voice of the customer using humor.

The results were staggering:

  • The webisodes got 4 million views
  • Ford increased their Facebook fans by 44,000
  • The favorable opinion of the Ford Focus went up by 74%
  • The metric “possibility of purchasing” a Ford Focus went up over 60%

The big take away is that people engage with personalities and with stories rather than with products and features.

Of course, not everyone has the resources Ford has to pull off a digital campaign of this magnitude. I would like to commend the Ford team for pushing the envelope and creating edgy content that really resonated with customers.

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One Response to “Using Digital Marketing to Recover a Failing Brand | Ford Focus”

  1. Lance Provo says:

    This is a great success story for Ford. I agree that people often relate to things on an emotional level. I remember when Hyundai first was selling in the US. They had the most adorable heart string pulling Christmas ad about families being able to buy 2 new Hyundais because the price was so low. The stories of the people receiving their surprise Hyundais for Christmas almost made people cry! Truly a “Hallmark” moment. I still remember those ads and that was 20 years ago! A lesson that still obviously applies even today in the digital world.

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