2011 Ford ExplorerEnlarge Photo
Unless you've been living under a boulder--or just don't have Facebook, same difference--you know Ford used social media to launch the new 2011 Explorer. Yup, Facebook.
Today, Chrysler took the same route with not one, but four either new or refreshed models. In a huge shift in the industry, Chrysler and other automakers are using Twitter and Facebook the same way we use them here at High Gear Media--to strap you right into the driver's seat for news and new-car reviews.
These two giants took distinctly different paths in executing their social-media car launches. Ford made it clear that the new 2011 Explorer would be revealed in a special way--in other words, not be at a conventional auto show. With Ford's recent huge social media push (the Fiesta Movement is one example), it made good sense for the new Facebook approach when it came to relaunching a brand that had been tarnished a decade ago by recalls.
Ford trickled out details over time, teasing the automotive media for more than a month with small detail photos, tech tidbits, even videos. They even showed off videos of the camouflaged Explorer being put through various tests. This slow, and almost painful, strip tease lasted almost as long as most reporters' patience.
Then for the finale, Ford set up a string of live Explorer reveals across the country, and streamed the events live to fans and followers over social media, making an entire day of it, with interviews and commentary from the executives to vehicle walk-arounds. Pointedly, the Ford crew steered around traditional reporting media for this grass-roots approach.
U.S. Spec 2011 Fiat 500 SportEnlarge Photo
Today's Chrysler barrage of new-car teasers took another tack: surprise. The automaker didn't tease anything--it simply started streaming photos and information via Twitter, early this morning. Skipping the auto-show circuit too, they spaced out four new-car reveals on social media over the span of all of fifteen minutes, including information and pictures that were picked up, retweeted, analyzed and reported--first and foremost, by our High Gear Media team.
It's a strategy that begs comparison with the Ford Facebook launch--but is either one the clear winner? Ford probably garnered more attention over a longer period of time; Chrysler likely will get buzz all week with its lightning strike.
We'll have to stay tuned to the Interwebs to see who does it next. And who does it better is an open question. Regardless, as long as you're following @highgearmedia, you'll be on top of the story.