Launched in September 2014, the Ford College Ambassador Challenge (socially known as the #FordChallenge) set out to inspire, connect, and educate. The digitally rooted program was powered by participation from a new generation of young professionals (18-21), looking to gain first-hand knowledge and experience over a four-month period, across nine college campuses. The #FordChallenge blended entrepreneurial energy, engaging UGC, and community-based endeavors promoting our roster of career-driven college students aligning with five segmented Ford vehicles.
Nine #FordChallenge teams across the country were chosen to compete in digital based challenges highlighting trends in marketing innovations and social media. With thousands of applications, thirty six students were chose to take part in the journey of a real world and real-time marketing experience. The site, fordcollegechallenge.com, served as the perfect platform to house all of the students activities, with featured team pages, #hashtag powered image aggregators, and a interactive RSVP interface, allowing the students to reserve their spot at off-line #FordChallenge workshops hosted by The Intern Queen, Lauren Berger. The winners have an opportunity for an exclusive internship and interview for full-time employment with the Ford Motor Company, a one of a kind networking experience at Ford World Headquarters, and $500.
The #FordChallenge played to the current need for college students embarking on their 'real world' journey, arming themselves with practical tools for success.
By positioning Ford at the center of the discovery journey, ICED Media® cemented the brand, as well as the set of vehicles, in the mind of the new consumer, as one of the key factors in securing a productive career path. The target audience, college students and their engaged online and offline networks, strives for self-acceptance and exudes creativity and self-expression throughout their professional and entrepreneurial endeavors. As digital natives, they consume content across multiple devices, and constantly engage their online and offline networks.
The #FordChallenge had multiple partners. The Intern Queen Inc. CEO, Lauren Berger, "The Intern Queen" served as valuable online and offline student resource, helping the nine national teams navigate with professionalism. Choosing a strategic partner in Vine superstar, Josh Peck, was extremely effective in reaching our target demographic - nearly a quarter of the campaign impressions were as a result of his social initiatives.
Josh was also able to create engagement on owned channels and drive affinity for the brand with humor and a genuine connection to fans. His posts earned over 25k likes and over 1,000 shares.
Our publishing partner, Thought Catalog, was chosen for their college-aged demographic and the flexibility of both editorial and advertising options. The Thought Catalog objective was to drive to the quizzes (http://fordcollegechallenge.com/quizzes/), which it did, resulting in over 43k page views.
The results were focused and disruptive. The Ford College Ambassador Challenge, in a few short months, culminated in over 23 million impressions, original content elements, organic mentions, and thousands of new qualified hand raisers.
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