- Ford Motor Company and Billboard have teamed up to connect consumers with music and Ford vehicles at free concerts in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Atlanta, according to a press release from Billboard. Called "Ford Front Row," the program will also provide an online hub of interviews, behind-the-scenes content and playlists from the featured artists, as well as contests for several all-expenses paid trips to the concerts or a free Ford vehicle.
- Each concert includes on-site activations for visitors to interact with Ford's latest fleet of cars, including a photo booth with a mounted Ford Mustang and special mobile app, according to a Billboard article. The first show, on July 27 at the Belasco Theater, in L.A., will feature singers Tinashe and BJ the Chicago Kid. Other performers and dates have not yet been released.
- Ford partnered with the music brand to demonstrate its vehicles' in-car stereo system. "[Music] is a cornerstone of our connection with our customers," Lew Echlin, Ford's marketing communications manager, said in the press release. "Putting on an exclusive concert series with Billboard allows Ford to take that strategy a step further, tap into the passions of our audience and bring them closer to the music and artists they love."
Ford helping produce an online hub of content including artist interviews and playlists adds a strong digital element to an otherwise fairly straightforward sponsorship, pointing to brands' growing interest in building more robust, editorial-like marketing campaigns that serve as a standalone draw. In this case, the aim is to engage music fans of the featured artists who would be interested in behind-the-scenes access not available elsewhere.
Ford and Billboard are also smartly embracing the omnipresence of smartphones by creating a dedicated mobile app for the initiative, and are likely looking to drive user-generated, sharable content on social media via the on-site branded photo booths. The hope seems to be that, on top of providing a fun contact point, people will be eager to publish their selfies, providing an awareness lift for Ford, Billboard and the concert series.
Ford is not the only automotive brand that has turned to social media to encourage consumer engagement. Tire company Firestone unveiled a social media contest in May that challenged fans to race NASCAR sports legend Mario Andretti in various tasks like egg peeling by sharing videos with the hashtag #RaceAndretti.