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Ford Plans Non-Traditional Launch for ’11 Explorer

Automaker will use mix of events, social media, TV – but skip the auto show circuit.

by on Jul.20, 2010

You'll have to wait until July 26 to see a complete pic of the 2011 Ford Explorer.

When Ford launches its all-new 2011 Explorer sport-utility vehicle, next week, it will stage a splashy unveiling in New York’s Herald Square and back it up with an aggressive marketing mix using social media and mainstream television.

But unlike the automaker’s traditional vehicle launches, Ford won’t be relying on the auto show circuit to give the totally-redesigned Explorer a boost, says the automaker’s global marketing chief, Jim Farley, and that could be the approach Ford takes with future products if the unusual roll-out of the new SUV proves effective.

“We will use social media to start a dialogue about the company,” and the new Explorer, said Farley, during a background briefing on the 2011 model.  Ford is estimating it will reach as many as 50 million American consumers with its marketing message on just the first day of Explorer’s launch, he added, “which would make it a bigger event than (possible at) the auto show.”

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The alternative approach for Explorer’s launch is modeled after what Ford sees as the successful introduction of the all-new Fiesta. The maker set the stage for the new subcompact with its viral marketing campaign, dubbed the Fiesta Movement, then followed with a more mainstream advertising program. Even there, Ford relied on an unusually creative approach, with ads that offered jugglers, parachutists and clowns, rather than the conventional image of a new car speeding down a quiet country road.

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