Another day, another Ford reality show. You’ll recall, if your attention span still spares you the luxury, that Ford kicked off its reality-based marketing campaign when it launched the Fiesta Movement for the new Fiesta. Ford also launched Focus Rally America as an interactive road trip in, unsurprisingly, the new Focus (which doesn’t seem to have been met with as much success, judging by the dead website). Ford has also sponsored CBS’s The Amazing Race with aplomb in recent seasons, with the Focus, Explorer and Mustang all making an appearance, and the latter in Belgium (!). Ford is launching “Escape Routes” to tout the 2013 Escape, with a bevy of attractive females and plenty of marketing buzzwords about social media and the leveraging thereof.
And despite what anybody may tell you, The Onion News Network’s “Auto Warriors” is not a Ford-sponsored show, and don’t call Ford’s PR team about it.
I bring those shows up to tell you this one: Ford is at it again, this time with the Focus Electric, and this time in partnership with Yahoo! The show is called “Plugged In”—a title that surely kept the Don Drapers of the world awake all night—and will follow the format of Ford’s previous shows: teams of two compete a series of challenges to ultimately win a Focus Electric. A similar format to the other shows Ford has pushed, undoubtedly, but this time the challenges will be focused on the local gems and hidden aspects of various cities across America.
Those cities? Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Boston. Contestants will be making extensive use of Ford’s SYNC and MyFord Touch to navigate themselves around America’s landmarks, making phone calls and receiving clues towards the next challenge. If you’ve watched The Amazing Race, it will seem unsurprisingly familiar to you. Only, there’s no word on what challenges will be postponed as the electric cars are being charged.
The show will be broadcast exclusively on Yahoo!, with plenty of opportunity for Yahoo! users to interact (read: leave horrible, offensive comments) with episodes. Casting is going on right now and will be announced in a few weeks, along with celebrity appearances from each city.
Not bad, Ford, but we’d like to see a different kind of reality show. Call it, “Fear and Loathing in Baja.” The premise will be one team in a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the other in a Raptor, and they have to race from La Paz, Baja California to snowy Portland to see who gets there first. Bribes, car accidents, sabotage, run-ins with Border Patrol, and plenty of impromptu donuts in summer tires will ensue. Call in an unlikely cast of Celebrity Apprentice rejects, have Hulk Hogan announce the entire thing, and add a “sudden-death” element that actually involves a modicum of death. That’d truly have my attention.