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Ford has shipped out a few of its new Lincoln MKS sedans to bloggers, along with a brand new Flip video camera. And the preliminary results are in. Today on her lifestyle and self improvement site DishyMix, Susan Bratton posted Lincoln MKS's "First Video Review," and if her daughter's reaction is any hint, it is a hit.

It's unclear how far this effort will spread around the blogosphere, but it is a smart effort on Ford's part. They're obviously hoping the reviews will be positive, but by sending out Flip cameras with the vehicles, Ford has attached its brand (that it hopes to position as a technological marvel) to a fun little gadget that has great brand recognition and usability. Obviously the automanufacturer is hoping its car will inspire similar reactions.

The Lincoln MKS is a medium sized luxury sedan, and also Ford's first vehicle to come equipped with its new fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines. It's price point is $47,760, making it comparable in price to other non-hybrid vehicles.

But The MKS comes with a variety of technological goodies (such as Bluetooth, Microsoft Sync integration, voice controlled MP3 playing, a DVD player, and USB connectivity) and Ford clearly wants that to be a focus.

Last fall they put a floor model in the WIRED Store in Manhattan, and now that the cars are ready to ship, they're hoping to promote the innovative features of the MKS online. Slashgear put up a video review of the car on Tuesday, and noted in the post:

"When Ford contacted us about the vehicle, we were told to focus on a specific item and write about it, make videos, and Tweet about it."

Ford's efforts highlight a point that is pretty obvious: bloggers love free stuff. (Bratton's video for instance shows her daughter excitedly talking about getting the video camera and access to the car before discussing the car's features and leather seats).

While bloggers can be a snarky bunch, they respond very well to personal attention. And for companies looking to promote new products, reaching out to people who write online in their space can be very rewarding. But getting them onboard early is also a good defensive tactic.

Brands that ignore online oversharers do so at their own peril. Just ask Motrin, a brand that learned the hard way last fall that mommy bloggers cannot be ignored.

Meghan Keane

Published 20 May, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

721 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Lisa Bailey

Maketing plan gone good I say... I've heard of journlists who get so many freebies they're not phased by them anymore - but bloggers, more likely individuals than companies, with necessary fresh content to write every day are fresh blood as it were!

Particularly apt now Google's new search criteria has a focus on video (of course it does - marketers will have to use YouTube all the more now!).

Lx

about 7 years ago

Jonathan Moody

Jonathan Moody, Freelance at Language4Communications

Brave initiative given the current situation. Didn't Ford do something similar with the Ford Fiesta and a bunch of twentysomethings? I just hope they did a thorough analysis of the bloggers they chose and provided them with a comprehensive list of social media in which to post and participate. The social media concerned will not only need the traffic, but also a good number of links, high levels of original content, interactivity (not just a personal soapbox) and be frequently updated. All of that will give them more for their marketing buck....

This should all attract attention to the car but further down the line, social media-savvy potential car buyers will be checking out the social media postings of people who have shelled out their hard-earned cash for the car (or who are thinking about buying one, or who have bought a competitor model) and have owned the car for a few months. That's when the initial wow-factor has calmed down and they can give more comprehensive and realistic reviews - focusing on the good, the bad and the ugly. My fear is that these initial blogger audiovisuals and reviews will be like jounalist ones - overwhelmingly and unrealistically favourable and not based on authentic ownership experience and/or a deliberated weighing up of pros and cons with regard to competitor cars....

about 7 years ago

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Andy Xhignesse

Interesting idea, is Ford attempting to create some sort of rave?  It would certainly appear that many of the elements are in place. 

I agree with you Jonathan that this will likely deliver short term responses that don't adequately reflect the ownership issues that arise over time, however, the idea is to capture our attention now isn't it?  In fact it has done just that, here we are talking about it.  Congratulations to the marketing people at Ford for taking this step, I personally believe it to be a strong one.  That said, it will be interesting to see how the longer term takes shape with this project.

about 7 years ago

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