Ford has created a Facebook page that allows people to take a virtual trip in the Focus Electric.
"Plug N Play in Electric City with the 2012 Focus Electric" is the latest social media promotion by Ford to stir interest in new vehicles.
Jim Farley, head of global marketing, sales and service, sees Ford's reliance on social media as a "subtle difference between us and many other car companies."
The Facebook game will augment another initiative announced earlier this week where Ford and Yahoo joined forces to launch a reality show with teams competing in a scavenger hunt in their Focus Electrics. The show will be streamed on Yahoo in May.
The Focus Electric went into production in December, but dealers sold only 12 in March as the $40,000 vehicle slowly rolls out to dealers. Farley said advertising has been focused on electric vehicle buyers and areas of the country where these buyers are concentrated.
Farley has been a driving force behind Ford's embrace of social media. Ford used Facebook to unveil the current Explorer rather than a traditional auto show and social media created a buzz for the Fiesta long before it went on sale in the U.S.
Another precedent is the creation of a network television show called "Escape Routes" where the utility vehicle is the star in a reality show contest.
These initiatives increasingly are becoming Ford's avenue of choice to promote vehicles and brands -- as opposed to a heavy emphasis on television and other traditional outlets where as much as 15 percent of the cost is in production.
"If a Ken Block video works better to promote the company, spending $10,000, than a $3 million Super Bowl ad, I'm much more proud of that Ken Block video online," Farley said in an interview.
"I take particular pride in the fact that last year we were the only car company that wasn't on the Super Bowl," he said.
Digital advertising also allows consumers a forum to engage with Ford and its products.
"If I'm going to invest billions of dollars in marketing, I'm also responsible for the sales on Monday morning. I care about efficiency and impact," Farley said.
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