Automotive advertising is big business -- in fact, no one burns through quite as many marketing dollars as car companies do. Add on the amounts spent by individual dealerships, and you're looking at a whole lot of dough.
Some of those campaigns are laughable. Others are admittedly a little thrilling. But few come with a charitable angle. Ford offers a welcome exception.
Drive One 4 UR School
In 2007, Ford launched a program called Drive One 4 UR School. It's a variation on the box-top and bar-code collection fundraisers we've seen at schools for decades.
The idea is simple: high schools work with their local Ford and Lincoln dealers to schedule a test drive fundraising event. The dealers bring a selection of cars to the event, and the school brings hordes of eager parents, relatives and more than a few recently licensed students hankering for new rides.
And then, Ford Motor Company donates $20 to the high school for every test drive completed, up to a total of $6,000 per event.
It's a clear win-win. Ford puts its vehicles in front of potential customers, and high schools raise money for special projects. For example, O'Connell College Preparatory School in Galveston, Texas, is still trying to replace books, computers, and other items lost in Hurricane Ike back in 2008. Its upcoming Drive One 4 UR School event will help do just that.
An audacious goal
Over the past five years, schools have raised over $10 million through Drive One 4 UR School events. Now, Ford and its dealers have set their sights much higher: they want to raise a staggering $1 million in the month of April.
While that sounds like a big hill to climb, it's a fairly reasonable goal. Ford dealers have scheduled 300 Drive One 4 UR School events this month. If each of those generates a little over half of its possible total -- $3,333 to be precise -- Ford will hit the mark.
To find a Drive One 4 UR School event near you, check out this PDF. To learn more about the program itself, watch the video below. And if you go, be sure to check out the 2012 Focus -- it was our Best Car to Buy for this model year.