Cannes Lions

THE CAR THAT RUNS ON SUNLIGHT

OGILVY PUBLIC RELATIONS, New York / FORD / 2014

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Overview

Description

Electricity and transportation are the most energy intensive sectors in the U.S. and major contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions exacerbating global climate change.

Increased efficiencies with solar panels and the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles hold promise to reduce these emissions, but combining the two would be game-changing.

While the solar powered vehicle is not a new idea, as a practical mainstream vehicle, it had only been a dream.

Enter the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept.

Working with the Georgia Institute of Technology and SunPower Corp., Ford created a first-of-its-kind plug-in hybrid concept that harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle’s roof.

We determined the best way to showcase the “art of the possible” and reach mainstream audiences would be to debut the concept during the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The response was electrifying.

Through April 2014, the campaign garnered 216 original articles and 95 broadcast segments globally, totaling more than 1 billion media impressions. The concept also received dozens of public endorsements from influential environmental groups, academics, and analysts. Based on the overwhelming response, the vehicle embarked on a previously unplanned world tour where it continues to make headlines and build excitement for solar hybrid vehicles.

More importantly, additional C-MAX Solar Energi vehicles and special concentrators were built for real world testing as part of an expanded development program with the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Execution

The launch stole the show at CES from January 7th-10th in Las Vegas. To achieve maximum impact, we seeded the story under embargo with media and influencers in late December 2013 to build buzz for the big public reveal.

Securing interviews in advance of CES resulted in 28 combined embargoed briefings with industry analysts, environmental groups, academics and mainstream media. Earned media placements ran as planned on January 2nd and were supported by extensive social, broadcast and print/online media outreach to keep the buzz going into CES.

During CES, dozens of interviews with domestic and international media drove the C-MAX Concept to unprecedented heights. Demand from the launch caused Ford to extend the campaign via showcases at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in late January, Geneva Auto Show in March and planned visits to Argentina, Brazil and several U.S. cities throughout 2014.

Outcome

Ford reached far beyond the traditional automotive arena to capture widespread media and public attention by showcasing the “art of the possible” around the biggest environmental issue of our time.

The C-MAX Solar Energi was featured in The New York Times, TIME, AP, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, CBS, USA Today and many more influential outlets, totaling more than 1 billion media impressions through April 2014.

The concept also received dozens of public endorsements from influential environmental groups, academics, and analysts. Social mentions in January totaled 4,989, with a positive net sentiment score of 94 percent.

Based on the overwhelming response, the car embarked on a previously unplanned world tour where it continues to make headlines and build excitement for solar hybrid vehicles.

Additional vehicles and special concentrators are now being built for real world testing as part of an expanded program with the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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