Ford: Super Test Drive 

Transforming the buying experience

Ford is always looking for new ways to ‘Go Further’, and in a market where consumers are on the lookout for the new and novel, an automotive brand needs to do something different to stand out.

So what better way to stand out than with the Super Test Drive auto vending machine, a unique and transformative way to allow potential customers a way to test-drive a vehicle they’re considering buying?

Created in partnership with Alibaba Changan Ford, JMC and Tmall, the Super Test Drive vending machine allows consumers to buy Ford cars through an ecommerce platform for the first time, in an iconic and visually striking way.

As the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience, the vending machine was created to drive real business results and generate sign-ups to test drive Ford vehicles  – a critical step in the auto shopping experience.

Since we were showing attendees the future of the automotive industry, it was important that cutting-edge technology ran through the full Super Test Drive media experience.

Guests were invited to register for the event using facial recognition, using technology for the first time that had been developed by our Alibaba partner.  Facial recognition was then used to release each guest’s vehicle of choice from the auto vending machine.

The co-branded Tmall and Ford car vending machine launch was also brought to life on social media through creative content, and livestreams on key media outlets: WanChe, JiaoShou, Pear Video, GeekCar, YouKu and KOL LivinGuangzhou.

Livestreamers didn’t just broadcast to the potential audience, but interacted with them directly as potential buyers and talked them through the vending-machine process  – highly important to credibly communicate the benefits of this first-of-a-kind technology in China.

Tasked with creating awareness and buzz around the launch, we also needed to consider concerns that the prototype of the new Super Test Drive vending machine had the potential to be too disruptive.

As a core component of this we hosted an event with a media Q&A session, allowing Tmall, CAF and Ford Asia Pacific representatives to discuss the topics of smart mobility, innovative consumer experience and the partnership between Ford and Alibaba.

Messaging was tightly crafted to convey how the new technology will allow Ford to work with dealers to provide a richer experience to consumers, with the Super Test Drive as an additional channel to drive foot traffic to showrooms and dealers across China. We made this a focus of all media outreach as a clear message to reassure car dealers.

Not only did the striking image of China’s first auto vending machine grab headlines around the world, but the campaign succeeded in its business-focused aim of encouraging more test-drives for Ford’s vehicles. Almost 300 test-drives were booked directly following the launch.

The launch created a huge amount of buzz on social media platforms, with over 500k social media impressions and 46,000 views on Ford’s owned channels.

In terms of media coverage, in China alone, the team secured over 600 pieces of coverage including Xinhua Daily, Sohu and Pear Video. The launch also received in-depth coverage across top-tier International titles including CNBC, Reuters, WSJ, TechCrunch, South China Morning Post, Mail Online, and Forbes.

Sector: Mobility + Transportation
Office: Guangzhou