Lest anyone think otherwise, Ford has its fingers firmly on the pulse of social networking. If Facebook likes could be translated into car sales, our roads would be populated with Mustangs. If its Twitter account could be harnessed into pure profits, Alan Mulally would be driving a gold-plated GT40. And if the amount of “social media” “buzzwords” nestled in “quotation marks” could be flung off a cliff along with a conference room full of “synergistic leeches,” then from the fiery detritus would emerge this: a bizarre marketing tie-up for the 2013 Ford Fusion, complete with fragmented shades of “consumer interaction” and lavish, self-motivating customer experiences ultimately designed to sell a mass-market sedan that’s compelling enough to attract customers simply on its own merits.
“Random Acts of Fusion,” which Mitch Albom’s estate firmly reassures is not the sequel to Tuesdays With Morrie, isn’t a TV show, or a YouTube series, or a radio campaign, or a documentary series aired on digital and experiential platforms, or a unique consumer-driven dealer experience, or a real-world contest unfolding over the course of a few weeks with the opportunity for media-starved denizens to solve interactive puzzles for the chance to provide feedback and opinions for a car that won’t go on sale until September, or Ryan Seacrest.
No, it’s all of those things. And the “new, social consumer program” combines “transmedia storytelling” with a random batch of celebrities. Because social media is what hip, trendy consumers who watch Community and listen to musical comedy are into, Ford somehow wrangled Joel McHale (who, despite all rumors, still has a job) and one-half of indie-chic comedic singer-songwriters Garfunkel and Oates into joining Seacrest himself into “a documentary…starring YOU!” screams the website.
“Consumers who follow Random Acts of Fusion will have the chance to experience something unique,” says the dense press release, “through daily storytelling contests, and local market events that—just like the all-new Fusion—will deliver something unexpected.”
So, to sum up: Ford has a reality show to promote the new Ford Focus Electric. It has “Escape Routes” to promote the new Escape. It had the Fiesta Movement for the eponymous Fiesta, and its “Doug” campaign for the Focus was one of the more successful forms of puppet-based marketing, and actually managed to pique the interests of jaded hipster bloggers across Park Slope (and yours truly, predictably). But hey, all of this social media malarkey works for Ford, no matter even if it doesn’t.
Now we just need a Baldwin brother in there to top things off.