Ford Fusion’s Snowball Ad Strategy Starts at the Super Bowl

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid S

Just ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, Ford will be running a televised spot for its Fusion Hybrid sedan.

Now, alone, that’s not big news. Ford and automakers in general are constantly advertising on TV, at the Super Bowl, or otherwise. But while a Super Bowl ad is often the peak of any given company’s advertising strategy, Ford’s Jim Farley says that this particular spot is just the beginning of a 3,000 dealership and company effort to help create a buzz before the game — and sustain it for several weeks after, Automotive News reports.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are expected to play crucial roles in this effort, according to Farley, who is Ford’s chief officer of marketing. Additionally, Ford’s regional dealer ad groups have also bought spots during the game, all of which will share common themes with the main corporate ad.

Comedian Rob Riggle, formerly of The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live, and actor James Franco will be featured in the ad spot. Teasers for the ad, which were pushed out to Ford’s dealership employees, “feature vignettes that encourage recipients to click and ‘Tune in February 2 to learn the meaning behind #nearlydouble,’” Automotive News said.

“If we have 3,000-plus dealers and there are 100 employees in each dealership, that’s 300,000 employees working in dealerships,” said Farley in an interview with Automotive News on Wednesday. “If everyone has 100 friends on Facebook, that’s 30 million people. This is not just a program to expose our ad to dealer employees and be nice. We get almost Super Bowl scale by sending it to employees,” he added, before continuing.

“When employees get the teasers, we want them to share that. Once we get in the game we know there are going to be fumbles and scores; we’re going to have a group of people engaging everyone digitally through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,” Farley said.

Farley declined to reveal how much the spot cost the company, though Automotive News’ sister site Ad Age estimates the time was worth $3 million to $3.5 million; last year’s Super Bowl brought in 108.7 million viewers.