Ford Tests Automated Kiosks For 24/7 Vehicle Drop-Off Service

What Happened
Ford is working with Panasonic and GoMoto, a company that specializes in car dealership technologies, to create Smart Service Kiosks that allow car owners to drop off their vehicles for repairs or basic maintenance tasks like alignment, oil changes, and inspections without having to talk to anyone. Once the dealership is finished with the tasks, owners will get an email alert to pick up their cars and pay the costs at the kiosks. The service will begin as a 90-day trial at a Ford dealership in Birch Run, Michigan.

What Brands Need To Do
This automated kiosk from Ford is a notable attempt to digitize the off-hour drop off service that some dealerships already offer. Essentially an ATM machine for car maintenance and repair services, the kiosk simplifies the process and modernizes the customer experience for car maintainance. By creating a digital interface for this service in the form of an automated kiosk enables users to manage their repair services and receive updates on their mobile devices, allowing Ford to establish a new digital touch point to reach customers for post-sale engagements. More brands should consider creating such digital tools to enhance their services or physical store experiences.


Source: Engadget

Ford Partners With Slingbox To Bring Live TV Into 2018 Expedition Model

What Happened
Ford is revamping its in-car infotainment system by integrating traditional TV service into its vehicles, starting with the 2018 Expedition model. To support cable streaming capabilities, the auto company struck a partnership with Slingbox, an OTT streaming set-top device manufacturer. Screens will be built into the back of the Expedition’s headrests, providing non-stop live TV entertainment to passengers on the road.

What Brands Need To Do
The development of connected cars is quickly turning cars into media hubs on wheels. According to market research firm Gartner Inc., there will be a quarter billion connected vehicles on the road by 2020. This not only represents a huge growth area for media companies and entertainment brands, but also opens up a new marketing channel for brands to reach more consumers.

The development in driverless cars is an important market trend that The Lab cares about, primarily because of the incredible amount of new media time it can potentially free up. The average daily commute time in the States is currently about 50 minutes. If and when driverless cars are adopted by mainstream car-owners, it would make it possible for media owners and advertisers to visually connect with consumers on the go through in-car media such as digital video and video gaming.


Source: TechCrunch

Ford Wants To Take You On A VR Ride Through Paris

What Happened
Ford is set to remake a 1976 short film “C’etait un Rendez-Vous” into a VR experience. Working with Claude Lelouch, the noted French filmmaker who helmed the original cult classic, Ford will transport the eight-minute early morning drive through Paris into virtual reality featuring a Ford Mustang. The auto brand plans to release the VR experience this month on YouTube and Facebook in the 360-degree video format. Viewers will also be able to strap on a VR headset and experience the ride in virtual reality.

What Brands Need To Do
While this is a VR concept that is both exciting and on-brand for an automaker like Ford, the distribution strategy leaves much to be desired. The mainstream adoption of VR headsets is still fairly low, and for most viewers that will only get to this VR experience merely as a 360-degree video, the visceral impact of a virtual joyride through the City of Lights will be considerably lessened. More often than not, we are seeing more and more brands making the efforts to create a piece of cool VR content, only to botch it with lazy distribution strategies. In order to truly drum up consumer interest with VR content, brands need to step up their campaign game surrounding the launch of branded VR experiences and put them in front of the right audience.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) to schedule a visit to the Lab.


Source: Digital Trends

Header image courtesy of Ford’s YouTube


Ford Brings Connected Features To Older Models, Opens Mobility Experience Studio

What Happened
To enhance the connectivity of its vehicles, Ford introduced a new piece of SmartLink OBD accessory that brings retrofitted connected features to its Ford and Lincoln cars dating back to the 2010 models. With a built-in 4G LTE modem, the SmartLink Accessory can serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices in the vehicle. It also enables other connected features including remote start, lock and unlock, and can send alerts to a car owner via a companion web and mobile app.

In related news, Ford also opened its first Mobility Brand Experience Studio in NYC to showcase its vision for the future of transportation. The Studio features various interactive exhibits, with a “kinetic mobility sculpture” that uses marbles to demonstrate traffic patterns as its centerpiece. Each visitor will receive a Ford Hub Card which activates the installations and saves their digital experiences online.

What Brands Need To Do
As developments in connected cars, self-driving technology, and on-demand services continue to transform the transportation landscape, major auto brands are reacting accordingly with a series of initiatives like the two Ford just came out with. One additional implication for brands is the additional screen time that in-car connectivity will bring to customers on the road. And though it is still a few years off before the self-driving technology fully matures, the media time it will unleash will fully transform cars into a media hub on wheels. Therefore, it is never too early for brands to start thinking about how to take advantage of this emerging media space.


Source: TechCrunch & PSFK

Ford Buys Pre-Roll Spots On CW Network’s Twitter Videos

What Happened
Ford is teaming up with the CW network to target young Millennial audiences on Twitter. The automaker is committing to pre-roll ad spots on select videos posted by CW’s official Twitter account in a first-ever Twitter Amplify upfront deal. CW is creating a variety of social video content such as weekly recaps, episode highlights, and sneak peeks, which will run with Ford ads. Twitter will also promote the videos in front of targeted users based on its data.

What Brands Should Do
This partnership deal shows that Ford is eager to reach fans of CW shows who are not necessarily watching the shows on linear TV. A media trial we recently conducted found that social videos generate better recall than standard pre-roll ads because of the feed environment. Brands looking to reach an audience on digital channels should consider social video ads and make use of the targeting capabilities they offer.


Source: AdWeek


Snapchat Extends Ads In Stories To More Brands

What Happened
Snapchat is opening up its Snap Ads that appear in between user-generated Stories to more brands. To ensure a good user experience, Snapchat is reportedly capping this ad unit to three views per day for each user, regardless of how many snaps they actually consume. Snapchat introduced this video ad product in June with the launch of its ad-tech program Snap Partners, limiting the launch partners to ten select brands at the time. Now, brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Maybelline, Starbucks, and JCPenney have started running Snap Ads.

What Brands Need To Do
Snapchat has been winning over brand marketers with its unique ad products like branded selfie lenses and sponsored Geofilters along with improved ad measurement. As its user base continues to grow and it opens more advertising opportunities, more and more brands are jumping on Snapchat. Ford, for instance, has created more than 30 sports-themed Snap Ads to push for its 2017 Escape SUV during the Olympics. If your brand has yet to develop a Snapchat strategy, now is the time to include the popular messaging app in your social marketing mix.


Source: AdWeek

How Ford Leverages Fashion Partnerships To Promote Fusion

What Happened
Ford is looking outside the auto industry to promote its Fusion model. The company launched the Fusion Labs workshop in June and partnered with two sustainable fashion labels, 69 Denim and RTA Crew and Collective, to sell branded fashion products and drive home the eco-friendly message of the Fusion model. 69 Denim will also donate “upcycled” denim materials to be used as insulation in the cars’ sound systems. Ford has previously worked with other fashion companies such as Rent the Runway and Vogue.

What Auto Brands Need To Do
Ford is not the only auto maker trying to catch customers’ eyes with fashion partnerships. Earlier this year, Cadillac teamed up with the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the launch of the Retail Lab initiative, aiming to elevate its brand and appeal to the upscale luxury market. Due to the fragmentation of media attention and the rise of ad blocking, it is becoming increasingly difficult for car companies to reach potential buyers via traditional ads. Therefore, auto brands should take a cue from Ford and Cadillac and consider branching out to partner with compatible brands in other industries in order to develop a unique marketing hook that captures consumer attention.


Source: Glossy

Ford Sponsors A Car Chase-Themed Show On Verizon’s Go90

What Happened
Ford has struck a deal with Go90, Verizon’s ad-supported OTT streaming service, to sponsor its new show The Runner, set to debut on July 1 with three new episodes daily on both Go90 and Throughout the car chase-themed reality show which is executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, all contestants will be driving the 2017 Ford Escape, which will be integrated into the episodic challenges. As part of the deal, Ford will air pre-roll spots before episodes, and the show will also distribute Ford-branded content across its social platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Facebook.

What Brands Need To Do
With this campaign, Ford is hoping to reach younger consumers on Go90 who are more likely to be cord-cutters or cord-nevers and therefore harder to capture with traditional TV campaigns. Its deep integration with the show also sets a good example for brands looking to reach viewers on OTT streaming services, showing that with the right sponsorship arrangement brands may just be able to get on the ad-free streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

To learn more about how brands may score new marketing opportunities on OTT streaming services with sponsorships and branded content, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdAge

Google, Ford, And Uber Team Up To Lobby For Driverless Cars

What Happened
Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber, and Lyft announced on Tuesday that they are forming a coalition to speed up the introduction of self-driving cars to the market. The new lobbying group, named the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, aims to push for federal actions that accelerate the development of driverless cars and promises to “work with lawmakers, regulators, and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles.”

In related news, reports surfaced today suggest that Google’s self-driving car is “close to graduating from X.” Basically, this means its parent company Alphabet no longer considers its driverless car program as an experimental moonshot project, but one that is about ready to transition into a standalone business. Meanwhile, Volvo is reportedly planning to test its driverless cars on some public streets in London next year.

Why Brands Should Care
The developments in driverless cars are an important market trend that The Lab has been keeping a close tab on (and included in the 2020 section of our Outlook 2016) due to the incredible amount of new media time it can potentially free up. If and when driverless cars hit the mainstream market, it would enable media owners and brand advertisers to visually connect with consumers on the go through in-car media such as digital video and video gaming.


Source: The Verge

Ford Develops App To Help Everyone Find Parking And More

What Happened
Right on the heels of CES 2016, Ford announced that it has started working on an app that aims to help drivers get around more easily. Powered by its partnerships with ParkWhiz and Parkopedia, the new FordPass app can help users quickly find and pay for a parking spot. Ford also is working with FlightCar to help users borrow and share vehicles while traveling.

Additionally, McDonald’s and 7-Eleven are also among the launch partners to reward FordPass members with “merchandise and unique experiences,” which will possibly translate into providing drivers with coupons and value offers when they are near one of their store locations. The app, set to launch in April, will be available for free for everyone, no Ford ownership required.

Market Impact
In recent months, Ford has been making strides in transforming from a traditional automaker to a modernized mobility company. It launched a pay-per-minute car-sharing service in London in May, and is reported to be developing its own version of Uber. Partnering with McDonald’s and 7-Eleven signals Ford’s ambition in integrating hyperlocal commerce into its app, spelling new opportunities for restaurants, chain stores, and other local businesses to get into the connected car space and reach consumers on the go.


Source: The Verge