Ford has partnered with Yahoo to promote the launch of its new Focus Electric in what it says will be a ‘digital only campaign’.

As part of this Yahoo will broadcast reality show competition ‘Plugged In’ on its video site, Yahoo Screen, throughout May.

Teams and celebrity guests will compete at locations around the US to win a new Focus Electric car, with viewers encouraged to share comments and photos within a dedicated Flickr group.

Ford director for marketing communications Matt VanDyke said that the electric car market would grow over time, so rather than creating a one-off vehicle with huge ad budgets it chose to electrify an already successful model and promote it with a targeted online campaign.

He said Ford is “once again recognising the power and reach of the web as we continue to rely more on digital media.”

Yahoo’s consumer insights show that its audience enjoy content about celebrities and travel, so ‘Plugged In’ was designed to include both elements.

The new show builds on Yahoo’s recently launched drive to include more original content on its new Yahoo Screen site (mirroring a move by YouTube to do the same thing).

An audience of 61m unique visitors visit Yahoo each month to watch video content and it is looking to build this audience with premium content that is also attractive to advertisers.

It is a tactic also adopted by MSN and YouTube as they compete to offer advertisers the best platform for online video advertising.

As well as spending $100m to attract new original content YouTube recently launched a new ad model for channel sponsorships.

MSN has also redesigned its homepage to focus on channels and recently announced a deal with Capital One for a multichannel advertising deal across MSN’s new website, mobile and Xbox.

The combination of channels and original content is clearly a business model that all three sites believe offers the most attractive product for premium advertisers.