More than any of its rivals, Ford has embraced social media Web sites as a means to advertise its products. Ford’s marketing chief Jim Farley said that Ford can get more returns for less on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube than spending millions for ads to run during the Super Bowl.
Farley claims that the impact of ads on social media will far outweigh buying high-profile space for $3 million for 30 seconds to run ads during the National Football League's February championship game.
In an interview, Farley said that customers are on their mobile smart phone or are online as much as watching TV so the company wants its “advertising dollars to flow to where the people are.” Since Farley joined Ford from Toyota Motor Corp. in 2007, Ford has focused more on the growing category of digital advertising than any other carmaker.
At Toyota, Farley is credited for the success of the youth-oriented Scion brand where this approach was used. He expects that Ford will be able to use Facebook and Twitter to step up the word-of-mouth recommendations and enable the brand to connect with younger and richer people.
Farley said that at Scion, he learned that the only way to get past consumer skepticism is "to break into their world."
He explained that myths have to be broken down and he pointed out that Americans are “always hungry for something new." It appears that Farley’s strategy could be working as Ford sales are up 19% so far this year, nearly twice the growth rate of the industry overall.
While Farley has been with Ford, Ford’s image has had a sharp turnaround. In a report issued by ALG (a company that tracks consumer perceptions), Ford cars and trucks has been leading all brands in gains in perceived quality since 2008. [via autonews - sub. required]