Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today's Hot Marketing trend started with a Plastic Bowl that Burps

Word of Mouth comes alive with Ford’s Big Drive conducted by House Party marketing.

While this may be big news in the marketing world- this type of one-to-one channel marketing started years ago with an ingenious concept of tupperware parties. Small colorful containers were displayed at the home of a friend and the "burp"- when the air got sucked out of the storage unit before finally closing- was tried by everyone. MaryKay party goers had even more fun when they got to play with product samples before buying. But now it looks like the boys are finally getting into the game.

More than 4,000 people applied to be hosts for the Ford parties.

“It’s making sure you’re truly connecting consumers with the product from physically to virtual ways” said the Ford’s experiential marketing manager Connie Fontaine, who is based in Dearborn, Mich. The house parties are meant to address the notion that the Ford brand “has a perception issue” compared with competitors, Ms. Fontaine said. Research has found that those perceptions can be dispelled “when we get people into the products, to drive the products,” she added.
“We’re realizing there are a lot of Ford owners out there who are already advocates for the brand,” Ms. Fontaine said. “Why not help them do an even better job of being advocates for us?”

So Ford owners are being asked at the house parties to discuss their cars and let the guests see them, sit in them and even drive them. Said Kitty Kolding, chief executive at House Party in Irvington, N.Y. “We find people who have strong brand affiliations and give them reasons to do something they do anyway, speak positively about the brand,” Ms. Kolding said.

House Party clients pay $100,000 to $250,000 for the parties held on their behalf. The hosts are not paid; instead, they receive gift packs as thank yous.

As an employer, you can start your own house party by inviting your employees to build your brand. After all, you’re already paying them so the gift pack is optional.

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