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By Cristina Lawrence

@AJtheFiestaWhen I was checking @AJTheFiesta’s twitter stream the other day, I learned that AJ was hungry (“AJ needs food. (Fuel level is 24%)”), and was having a generally good day (“No pain! Current conditions: fair (day)”). For a split second, I forgot that AJ is one of two net-connected 2011 Ford Fiesta test cars on the roadtrip of a lifetime.

The roadtrip is the culmination of a yearlong Ford initiative called American Journey 2.0, a joint open innovation research project, supported by Microsoft and Intel, offering a group of University of Michigan students a chance to define the future in-car experience. AJ’s roadtrip started in Ann Arbor, Mich. and ended this past weekend at Maker Faire, the world’s largest DIY festival, in San Mateo, Calif. Since embarking on its journey on Wed., May 13, 2010 from the North Campus of U of M, AJ faithfully told us all about it one tweet at a time.

The American Journey 2.0 roadtrip is undoubtedly my favorite social media campaign of 2010. Ford, an iconic American brand that is busy becoming a boundary-pushing digital brand, has taken a great American activity, the roadtrip. and has reconstructed it into a multi-dimensional integrated experience that melds social connectedness, collaboration and innovation with brand heritage. This makes perfect sense for Ford, a company that knows its current and future consumer base for vehicles like the Fiesta are the Millennials –- the twenty-somethings who not only use social technologies, but perceive social connectivity as an inherent part of their day-to-day lives and expect automakers to embrace newer technologies as a way to communicate and sell more effectively to them. In-car connectivity is something Ford has been focused on since its 2007 launch of SYNC, knowing that these innovations are the price of entry for growing its consumer base. Enter American Journey 2.0.

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Tags: AJtheFiesta, American Journey 2.0, digital-automotive, social-media-marketing


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