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Ford launches 3D interactive mobile campaign

Ford of Europe this week launched its first 3D interactive mobile marketing campaign for its new Ford Ka model.

The automaker tapped marketing services agency Wunderman, London, to use augmented reality for the new Ford Ka to engage new young drivers via mobile and influence their choice of car -- a first for Ford and a first for an automotive brand in Europe. Wunderman's task is to generate interest and buzz about the Ford Ka among a hard-to-reach twentysomething audience before its official launch in January 2009.

"Ford's goal is to reach new Ka owners, increase site visits and increase test-drive bookings for when the new Ka arrives," said Richard Last, digital creative director at Wunderman, London.

Ford claims that the new Ka is efficient to run and environmentally friendly, with two economical, low-emission engines: 1.2-liter 69 PS Duratec petrol and the first Ka diesel, a 1.3-liter 75 PS Duratorq TDCi. Both gas/petrol and diesel models are available with sub-120g/km CO2 emissions.

The mobile campaign launched initially in Britain and will roll out across Europe including Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

The campaign is part of the initial promotional activity for the new Ford Ka release in early 2009.

The campaign will run through the car's official launch on Jan. 5, 2009, and longer for some European markets.

Wunderman claims that this is the first mobile marketing campaign by an automotive brand to use augmented reality.

Augmented reality, or AR, is a field of computer research that deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data, or virtual reality, where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.

The other campaign using this technology is for Nike, which was limited to a single 3D image of the shoe accessed through a poster outside the sportswear giant's store in Hong Kong.

"The crucial difference between this technology and typical QR codes is that this is full 3D interactivity that appears to be set in the real world," Mr. Last said.

"Pepsi is using QR codes in a sales promotion in Britain, but their campaign links to a basic WAP site that will give you access to games and videos, not to a 3D can of Pepsi which you can play with and spin, and 'see' in front of you like the Ford Ka," he said.

The creative concept by Wunderman is based on looking beyond the obvious to find hidden discoveries. Its goal is to appeal to the intelligent, articulate 18-25-year-olds who are unlikely to be engaged by traditional media.

According to the latest research from British Market Research Bureau, British consumers who access the Internet on their mobile phone are 62 percent more likely than average Internet users to be influenced by online reviews and comments.

The message of the Ford Ka "Find It" campaign is "Look beyond the obvious to discover the hidden treasure."

The 3D mobile interactive experience is delivered via QR code stickers.

The Ford Ka stickers have a WAP link that allows people to download an application.

When the camera phone is pointed at the marker on Wunderman's QR code stickers, it projects a 3D image of the Ka onto the screen.

Developed in conjunction with technology experts HIT Lab NZ and Ford's CGi specialists Burrows, the 3D Ka is viewable on Nokia camera phones released within the last two years, plus most camera phones which use a Windows Mobile operating system.

To view it, a bespoke '3D Ka' mobile application is required, downloadable at

There are three different designs of the Ford model available in the mobile application.

The packs are through Don't Panic, the experiential youth marketing company, and will be distributed in bars, clubs, fashion boutiques, universities and at music events for maximum exposure as people experiment and move the virtual Ka.

When the Ka is viewed at a particular angle on the phone screen it will reveal a secret URL:, continuing the campaign theme of looking beyond the obvious to find hidden discoveries.

When people visit, an overlay application will take them to a range of interactive sites, some of which contain films, ambient and photos created exclusively for the campaign by Wunderman creative team Inger Nordby and Damien Knowles.

There is a clean graffiti film stunt that was staged in Berlin, a high-speed film guide to Shoreditch's best street art and the 3D mobile Ka film footage, plus image postings on Flickr.

Consumers can go to YouTube to see the video of the 3D Ka in action.

Wunderman's global network spans 20-plus companies, with more than 130s offices in 50-plus countries. It is part of Young & Rubicam Brands, itself owned by British agency conglomerate WPP Group PLC.

The Ford Ka campaign plays into Wunderman's experience in interactive and direct marketing.

"The Ka target audience is true individuals who'd rather support small independent brands than follow the mainstream," Mr. Last said. "And they're not necessarily thinking about buying a car.

"So Wunderman took a pioneering approach that would truly amaze them -- a new campaign experience," he said.