DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 1, 2008 Ford Division and participating Ford dealers throughout the country are introducing new products to consumers in a unique way that not only helps raise awareness and consideration for the Ford brand but also helps support community schools.
Participants in the "Drive One 4 UR School" program can test-drive a Ford Flex, Focus or other new Ford vehicle and help raise much-needed funding for their local high school. For each test-drive taken at the one-day events, Ford and participating dealers donate $20 (up to a total of $6,000) to fund special projects and activities at the designated school.
"Experience behind the wheel is the greatest influence in changing consumer opinion and growing consideration of Ford products," said Gabrielle Senatore, Marketing manager, Ford Motor Company.
"This fresh approach provides an excellent opportunity to showcase a variety of Ford products in a low-pressure setting while also demonstrating support for the local community."
Senatore says the success of the "Drive One 4 UR School" program is driven by strong collaboration between Ford dealers and their partnering high schools.
"The more effort the students put behind drawing people to the event, the greater their opportunity to maximize the fundraising," she said. "Some of our Ford dealers offer additional incentives like free oil changes to attract participants."
High schools participating in the "Drive One 4 UR School" program also compete against one another in a nationwide sales competition. Ford will award first-, second- and third-place prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to the high schools that generate the most new Ford Division sales.
More than 100 "Drive One 4 UR School" events have been held throughout the country since the program began late last year, enabling more than 15,000 people to test-drive a Ford vehicle. The events have generated close to 250 direct sales, and feedback shows that both purchase consideration and opinion of the Ford brand improved after people had a chance to experience the vehicles firsthand.
According to Senatore, the "Drive One 4 UR School" program builds on the success of recent Ford marketing campaigns, such as the Fusion Challenge, Friend-to-Friend and the overall "Drive One" initiative.
"This grassroots approach to marketing enables us to reach consumers community by community, and our vehicles to do the rest," she said.
More than 150 "Drive One 4 UR School" events are planned at high schools throughout the United States between now and the end of December. In 2009, the program will expand to include elementary and junior high schools.
Source: Ford Motor Co.