Ford Motors seems to have built its entire ad campaign for the 2013 Mustang around the concept of Advertising Interactivity. Their customizer website and app allows consumers to not only interact with the vehicle as displayed on their computers or smart phones, but also to interact with Mustang owners and pony car enthusiasts the world over by sharing their sharing their personal assembly of Mustang parts and thereby promoting the brand. The emphasis is not on just a product, but an entire community built around that product.
An Alternative To TV Advertising Interactivity
Ford showed particular commitment to that concept with how it decided to release its commercial for the latest Mustang line. Appropriately enough, the ad premiered on television during the Daytona 500, but it actually premiered to an online audience earlier than that. The company screened the commercial in a Google+ Hangout at 11 that morning and then released it to Facebook and YouTube before it finally aired on television.
In an age of new media, this is not at all unprecedented. There are plenty of examples of companies crafting advertisements specifically for attempts at viral distribution. In those cases, it usually involves masking a video as amateur or non-commercial content in order to create a hook, and then relying on the quality of the ad to get viewers to take note of the brand without resenting it for being manipulative.
In other instances, traditional television ads have garnered additional exposure online because of extraordinary quality or unique content. No doubt, success in either of these ventures can be very rewarding, as it means the brand message was spread in part by the consumers themselves. That implies an audience that identifies with the brand on some level, which in turn suggests the groundwork of brand loyalty.
Ford seems to be making a comprehensive effort to foster this sense of community connection with the Mustang brand, and the actual content of their commercial is a marvelous example of that. It shows a 2013 Mustang driving down a city street, and as different people catch sight of it, it transforms to take on their customizations. That is to say, the identity of the brand isn’t fixed. Each consumer defines it himself, by customizing his own car with CJ Pony classic Mustang parts or options or decals.
But however distinctive the customizations, the product is still a Mustang. And there’s another dimension to this interactivity, which the commercial illustrates at its end when it shows a little girl in a ballerina outfit catch sight of the Mustang, onto which there is a momentary flash of pink before it gives way to solid black and passes by closely enough to show the girl a different, darker image of herself through her reflection in the window.
The implication seems to be that interaction with the Mustang brand is truly interaction, not something simple or one-directional. The consumer customizes the car to better reflect his personality, but at the same time, the brand changes him. It’s a message that allows Mustang users and customizers to be part of a unified community that still allows them to express perfectly unique individuality.
It’s the same message that’s conveyed by the customizer site, which has people designing entirely personalized cars but comparing notes on them across the web. And that message is perfect for a high-tech age in which it’s easy to communicate, but not as easy to communicate who you are.
This post made possible by guest blogger Michelle, a writer with varied interests, including advertising, especially when it comes to CJ Pony Mustang parts.