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Ford revives 'Swap My Ride' campaign

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Ford revives 'Swap My Ride' campaign

31 people driving the competition are selected



Ford has revived a marketing campaign that debuted in 2007 called "Swap My Ride" in an effort to showcase real people who are impressed with the company's cars and trucks.

For its latest campaign, which began Tuesday, Ford randomly picked 31 people who were driving competitors' cars and trucks in Texas and California and allowed them to test-drive a Ford for a week.

"They found me in a shopping center parking lot," said Megan Daley of San Francisco, who drives a 2003 Audi A4.

Daley, 31, hasn't owned a Ford since she learned how to drive her parents' Ford Taurus when she was 16.

"They were obviously looking for non-Ford drivers," Daley said. "I was really impressed with the car."

At the end of the week, TV celebrity and Ford ad pitchman Mike Rowe interviewed Daley and the other participants. Ford used those interactions to produce about 20 commercials for national and regional use.

Ford's goal is to use the authentic consumer reactions to convince others to drive a Ford, said Matt VanDyke, Ford's director of marketing communications.

"What we wanted to do is bring it back when the showroom is really full of new vehicles," VanDyke said.

Over the past 18 months, Ford has launched a redesigned F-150, a redesigned Ford Fusion and an all-new Ford Taurus.

The company also has several other new vehicles on the way this year, such as the Ford Fiesta subcompact car that is to go on sale this summer.

Ford gained market share in the U.S. in 2009 for the first time since 1995 after it banked on the goodwill it received by being the only U.S. automaker to survive without federal emergency loans. In March, Ford captured 17.2% of U.S. new vehicle sales, up 1.9 percentage points from the same month last year.

Ford is convincing more consumers to put Ford on their shopping list, said Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Bandon, Ore. Still, many consumers don't even think about Ford when they look for a new car.

"What Ford needs to do right now is to keep building that consideration list," Spinella said.

Using regular mainstream types of customers is a formula that Ford has been using for some time and fits well into the company's overarching "Drive One" slogan, VanDyke said.

In 2008, Ford approached competitive vehicle owners in Marietta, Ga., and Windsor, Calif., and asked them to drive a Ford for a week and then pass it on to a friend.

In October, Ford unveiled an advertising campaign with current Ford drivers talking about the features of the vehicles that they liked the most in a series of short, 15-second commercials.

Both of those campaigns were inspired by the 2007 "Swap My Ride" campaign, VanDyke said.



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