One of the most demanding projects I have lead was for Ford, whilst I was based at Imagination. I was brought on board to create a far reaching social media platform, at the time when WordPress and Wikis were still very much in their infancy from a public consciousness perspective.
Ford wanted to utilise social media to engage with people in a more genuine manner than just pitch sales messages and thereby establish a closer connection between audience and brand.
The aim of the project was to tell a story and inviting readers to contribute to it, thus making them feel engaged, rather than “talked at”.
The result was an interactive online comedy called “Where Are The Joneses?”, which followed the adventures of two characters, Dawn and Ian Jones, who were searching for siblings after learning that their father was a prolific sperm donor.
Accompanied by my film crew, the cast improvised an episode a day on a 3 month European road-trip. We asked Ford to provide a car fit for the journey and paint it in the pantone derived from the colour used by Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, about transforming your business by being remarkable.
Each episode was uploaded to our WRTJ channel on YouTube and discussed in an accompanying blog, hosted on WordPress, which featured videos from viewers, images, diaries written by the characters and audience comments. (www.wherearethejoneses.com)
The wiki allowed the audience to help shape the storyline, write the script, create new characters and even cast themselves to appear in the show. It was distributed widely across social networking sites to maximise audience participation, utilising everything from Facebook to Twitter, GoogleMaps, Flickr, Digg, Technorati, Del.icio.us, iTunes and MySpace amongst others.
The result was extensive coverage in mainstream media, both UK national and trade press as well as national TV coverage. This helped to set the campaign up as a rewarding articulation of Ford’s brand positioning “Feel the difference. It also earned the project a Webby nomination.
This is Episode 1 that started the whole European adventure off and introduced us to Dawn and Ian.
Here are some images from the three month production.