By Cristina Lawrence
When 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 rain...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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