SBJ/20090316/This Week's News

Ford promotion for Fusion reaches beyond NASCAR

When Matt Kenseth put his Ford in victory lane for NASCAR’s first two Sprint Cup races of the season, he had a few more fans pulling for him than usual.

About 120,000 of them, in fact. That’s how many consumers have registered so far in the first year of Ford’s “We race. You win” sweepstakes, which offers a trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale and a 2010 Ford Fusion.

Consumers register at www.weraceyouwin.com and Ford has been driving traffic during Fox’s Sprint Cup broadcasts with in-race mentions from the broadcasters. The automaker also has integrated the sweepstakes into its regional and national auto shows.

The promotion, the cornerstone of Ford’s NASCAR marketing this year, is  spreading to other parts of the company that haven’t leaned on NASCAR quite as much in the past.

“We’re trying to leverage everything we can,” said Greg Scott, brand manager for the Ford Fusion. “It goes directly to the austerity of the situation we’re in. We don’t have a lot of money, so we have to do things creatively.”

The promotion launched in January and runs through the end of the NASCAR season in November. It started as a means to promote its racing program, which runs the Fusion in NASCAR’s top two series.

Each time a Ford driver wins, the sweepstakes awards a trip to Miami. Of those winners in Miami, one will drive away in a Fusion.

But as Scott and his marketing team began to explore angles, they found other potential uses for the program. Pretty soon, “We race. You win” promotional material began popping up at national and regional auto shows.

At the monstrous Chicago Auto Show in February, a huge banner hung the length of the wall behind the Fusion to promote the sweepstakes. The Chicago show is considered the nation’s largest, in terms of floor space and attendance.

“We’re walking down the hall, talking to a lot more people in the organization as we look for ways to use all of our assets,” Scott said. “The message from upper management is to find ways to expand what we’re doing beyond the race.”

The results for the sweepstakes have doubled what Scott expected with 120,000 registrants. More than half — 54 percent — have requested more information about the 2010 Fusion and an additional 16 percent have inquired about the Fusion Hybrid.

PCG Campbell is working the public relations for Ford.

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