Ford partnered with Zynga to promote the 2013 Escape

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 29, 2011

Ford Motor Co. has partnered with social game developer Zynga Inc. as part of the campaign for the debut of the 2013 Ford Escape crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The game dubbed as Words with Friends will promote the Escape. It is a Scrabble-like game the fans can play on their smartphones. The partnership is part of an initiative by the automaker to tap into a new generation of 20-something customers.

During a November 15 event in Los Angeles, actress Jenny McCarthy competed against 12,500 online gamers. Angie Kozleski, a spokesperson for Ford, revealed that the event generated 1,000 tweets per hour on Twitter.

It also reached almost 7 million people. Facebook viewings and Tweets have been almost like Nielsen ratings points in the social media marketing world. Ford related that a third of Americans own smartphones, with one in three of those owners play games on their gadgets.

The game was only a first in a series of social media initiatives that Ford will launch as part of a new interactive reality series online dubbed as Escape Routes at escaperoutes.com, which was launched during the car show.

Ford revealed that the Escape Routes is a team-based competition, wherein participants will take part in "virtual and real-world challenges." The online reality game will begin in March, which is about the same time that the new Escape is available in dealerships. Six two-person teams will comprise Escape Routes in a reality TV show-style competition. The participants will blog and tweet online as they roam the country taking on various challenges.

A number of customers will generally look for a vehicle that comes with innovative technologies that include a host of safety features. Ford has plenty of these in the new Escape as it comes in a high-strength steel body with a new airbag system that is smarter and unlike any other offered by other brands. Featured in the Escape is the improved Personal Safety System with its 7 airbags and safety belt technologies.

What this safety system does is utilize a system of different parts that function as one in order to modify how the front airbags are activated in the event of a frontal collision. There is what is known as the restraint control module or RCM. The RCM is what gathers all the data from the crash sensors in the front, the front outboard safety belt buckle, and the track position of the driver’s seat. It also gets the information of the weight sensors on the passenger seat and indicates whether the driver or the passenger is buckled or if both are. It also provides the rate of deceleration.

Given all of these, the RCM will then trigger the pre-tensioners of the safety belt and then determine how to deploy the dual-stage front airbags. Escape Marketing Manager Jason Sprawka shared that for many small SUV customers, the main consideration has always been safety and the new Escape is able to meet that expectation.

In order to improve the safety features, he added, the brand has tested the Escape a total of 5,000 times in virtual and real conditions. Another new innovation in the new Escape is the pre-tensioners that are found at the crash-locking tongues and the outboard anchor points in the front. With this, the system is able, within milliseconds, to pull the seat belt over the hips tightly in case of severe crashes. Then there is the addition of the side airbags which deploy to protect the pelvis area and another to serve as protection for the chest. It also integrates venting technology, a first in the small SUV class.

Since this venting technology is able to take the size of the person sitting into consideration, it can make the necessary adjustments to the pressure so that smaller passengers will get lower pressure.

Though the safety features are indeed innovative, there is also the use of ultra-high strength and high-strength steel. In fact, compared to the previous version, the amount of these materials in the new Escape is four times as much. As almost a third of the whole body is made of this steel, it ensures that occupants get better protection should a crash occur.

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