Ford Focus contest zeroing in on students

How do you get 'em to think about buying a car when all that's on their minds is exams?

Just as Canadian students in the 17-26 demo started hitting the books to prep for finals, Ford of Canada hit them with an online contest designed to influence their automotive purchase choices later on.

Prizes for the Future in Focus contest – a two-year lease on a new Focus ZX3 GFX, $5,000 toward repayment of a student loan, concert tickets plus hotel accommodation for seven friends, a $750 rebate on new wheels, and weekly draws for three Sirius Stiletto 100 radios with six months service – were pretty hard to ignore. That’s probably why more than 1,000 entries have flooded in since the contest’s April 19 launch.

The contest was well publicized on campuses by Toronto’s Fokus Media, which plastered it on about 80 of the screens on its cross-country digital network. There was also portal placement on NEX interactive kiosks, which provide free Internet access to post-secondary students. The contest’s viral element was spearheaded by student ambassadors, who promoted it on MySpace, Facebook, MSN and Hi5.

Media planning and buys for Ford’s contest were handled by Toronto-based True North Advertising. The creative – which features humourous slogans such as ‘Not recommended for geezers’ – was done by VCR Active Media, of Mississauga, Ont.