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Ford’s Secret Weapon: Coffee (and Ryan Seacrest)

Maker engaging in “Random Acts of Fusion.”

by on Jul.18, 2012

Can Ryan Seacrest and a free cup of coffee help sell the new Ford Fusion?

In an increasingly crowded midsize segment, Ford Motor Co. has come up with a secret weapon to help launch the 2013 Ford Fusion: coffee.

“It’s really kind of a natural,” said Craig Daitch, Ford manager of car communications as he stood outside Commonwealth Coffee in Birmingham, Mi. where Ford was holding a brief pop-up event to show off the new Fusion sedan.

It was the forerunner of dozens of similar events Ford will use to introduce the new Fusion to consumers over the next couple of months before the marketing campaign begins in earnest.

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The Fusion comes equipped with a suite of new safety equipment, including a system that tells drivers they are getting drowsy by flashing a coffee cup at them to suggest they pull over, Ford officials. The Fusion will also come with such advanced safety features as lane guidance and park assist technology.

Crystal Worthem, manager, Ford Brand Content & Alliances, said the social media campaign is also meant to engage potential customers, particularly in major cities such as Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles where midsize sedans are big sellers.

Since launching the campaign two weeks ago, the Fusion marketing team has received more than 1,000 invitations from followers, asking for a pop-up at their neighborhood coffee house.

“We’re only going to small independent coffee houses because we want to help local businesses,” she said.

(Fiat will offer the world’s first in-car espresso maker on the new 500L. Click Here for more.)

“Ford is reaching out to consumers with the new Fusion every day. Through this innovative approach, countless people will have an opportunity to take part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the Fusion before it even arrives in dealer showrooms,” Worthem said.

As part of the campaign, Ford also signed up celebrity personalities Joel McHale and Kate Micucci to join Ryan Seacrest in the new, social consumer program “Random Acts of Fusion.”

Seacrest has been given 100 new Fusions to use and loan out as part of the promotion.

Meanwhile, McHale, one of the stars of “Community” is doing a documentary, showing off what happens at the Fusion pop-ups. One of McHale’s crews was in Birmingham for the Fusion pop-up outside Commonwealth, Worthem said.

“The new Fusion is a transformational vehicle and we wanted to give consumers the opportunity to be part of this transformation through the unexpected experiences and entertainment provided by Random Acts of Fusion,” Worthem explained.

“Over the next few months, we are giving fans a never-been-done-before experience by combining social media, entertainment and unexpected events that will allow them to interact with Fusion all across the country,” she said.

Consumers who follow Random Acts of Fusion will have the chance to experience something unique through daily storytelling, contests, and local market events that – just like the all-new Fusion – will deliver something unexpected. Consumers can get in on the act by following Fusion at www.RandomActsofFusion.com, Worthem said.

Ford is also leaning heavily on social media to introduce the new Fusion.

Social media helps spread the word about new products, said Scott Kelly, manager of media communications. Ford has already signed up something like 350,000 “friends” on its Fusion Facebook page, he said.

“Social media also makes it authentic. It’s not just some marketing guy telling you something,” said Kelly, adding the traditional media campaign is slated to begin in October.

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