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Ford Online PR Versus The Blogger

Dear readers, I’ve a confession to make. I’ve been a bad girl. I should go and sit on the naughty step.

But that’s what good girls do. And like I said. I’m bad.

I get emails from PR companies pretty regularly. Mostly I ignore them. However, I received one recently which I thought deserved a little attention.

It was from the PR company (who will remain nameless) who are currently working for Ford Online. My interest was piqued because I kinda thought they might want to give me a car. And I wouldn’t have minded that too much… I mean I’d prefer a book deal or possibly a spot on Strictly Come Dancing; but y’know… a car would do – right?

Here’s what they sent me:

Hi Hannah, (I was pleased they’d figured out my name… sometimes they don’t)

<Name removed> here, from <agency name removed> and I’m working together with FordOnline on a social media initiative. We want to engage more with female drivers in the UK and we think that your blog and readers would be interested in what we’re doing.

Would it be possible to post the latest press release from FordOnline on your blog which is below.  Also, courtesy of Ford perhaps you would like to run a competition for your readers where we can provide the prize?  Something useful and car related like a storage boot buddy (see attached photo)

Let me know what you think and if you can use the press release below.
Many thanks!
<Name removed>

Wanna know what in the name of arse a ‘boot buddy’ is? Here you go:

It’s very pink, huh?

Apparently (according to the blurb at least) *everyone* needs a boot buddy.

It’s a pink ‘gadget’ for girls!

Interestingly although not referenced in the email another picture was also included within the email – pink, in-car hair straightening irons! Wanna see?

Perhaps the dumbest invention I have ever heard of.

Oh, and yet again, pink.

But I’m forgetting the bestest bit! The press release! (Erm you can totally skip reading this if you want. It’s really fucking boring).

The Internet continues to influence how women buy cars

When it comes to buying a new or used vehicle women do not feel as comfortable about the car buying process as they do about other high value purchases.  Recent research highlights the issue of women often feeling under more pressure in the showroom or at a dealership than men (What Car? Magazine).

Leading economist Linda Babcock and author of “Women Don’t Ask” claims that women are 2.5 time more likely to feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating than men, especially when it comes to purchasing a car, which may lead to women putting off going to a showroom or car dealership altogether. However, as the Internet continues to grow and people are increasingly purchasing high value goods online, there are further signs that it is also changing how people buy cars.

Ford Retail, the UK’s largest dedicated Ford dealer group which is wholly owned by Ford Motor Company, has launched ‘FordOnline’ (link removed – tee hee), a new easy-to-use car buying website that offers both convenience and value for Internet shoppers looking for new or used Ford cars as well as commercial vehicles.

Most car buying journeys start with browsing the Internet for information. Surprisingly, FordOnline has found that a large proportion of Internet shoppers (37%) are now prepared to purchase vehicles without a test drive, removing one of the final barriers to online selling of cars.

The convenience of the process is becoming increasingly important. New research carried out by FordOnline shows that motorists believe the benefits of buying a car online are convenience and a hassle free process, especially with today‘s busy lifestyles:

What would you rank as the greatest benefit of buying your car online?

· Getting a better deal (35%)

· It is convenient and quick (29%)

· There is no need to haggle on price (21%)

· It saves time/saves visiting a dealership (19%)

· It is less stressful than buying from a dealership (13%)

The research also reveals that the majority FordOnline.co.uk users are already well versed in making a broad range of purchases online including:

· Books, DVDs and music (59%)

· Insurance (55%)

· Holidays (52%)

· Clothes and jewellery (43%)

· Theatre/concert tickets (35%)

· Brown goods such as TV’s (34%)

· White goods (30%)

· Toys (26%)

· Health and beauty products (25%)

· Car parts (24%)

Steve Hood, Managing Director of FordOnline, commented: “We know that with the growth of the Internet there are car buyers out there who want to search for and buy a car without visiting a dealership. We have specifically designed FordOnline for those people, offering them great choice, low-prices and high levels of customer service. What you see on FordOnline is exactly what you get. Our customers only need to visit a dealer to pick up their vehicle.”

FordOnline aims to make car buying simple and straightforward, it is also 100% owned by Ford Retail, so users can be confident in using the website – it is the trusted, quick and convenient way to buy a Ford vehicle. They are now also to be found with the latest stories and updates on Twitter @FordOnlineUK. To find the best deals on your next Ford, visit (link removed again tee hee hee!)

– Ends –

Wow! FordOnline like totally ‘get’ social media. And they totally ‘get’ females. I mean, what woman in her right mind would turn down the chance to bore her poor readers to death with a poorly researched, dry as the sahara desert press release in exchange for a boot buddy or in car hair straighteners? And they’re both pink!

I mean, you’d have to be either

a) Out of your mind

or

b) Be on the blob

to turn down an offer like that!

I therefore dashed off the following response forthwith:

Hi <Name removed>,

I do really like pink and I’m sure my readers do too.

I also like ponies. Do they do boot buddies with ponies on them?

Love
Hannah
xxx

I kinda thought that would be the end of it. But the PR came back to me (possibly because no one else had responded to him at all):

Hi Hannah,

I will look into the ponies for you!
Is that press release something you can work with on your blog?
If so, do email me the URL link so I can see the response and send you the pink boot buddy for your readers if you want to do a competition/giveaway or something similar.
Kind regards, (I was kinda sad that he used ‘kind regards’ rather than ‘love’)

<Name removed> (also note the lack of kisses)

I could have left it there… But I couldn’t resist sending him a reply:
Hi <Name removed>,

I’ve just polled my readers and it turns out that only 37% of them like pink. This means that 63% don’t like pink. Interestingly a slightly higher proportion – 45% like ponies. But this still means that 55% don’t like ponies.

I guess we’re going to have to rethink the prize. Perhaps I should run some further polls? Let me know what you think.

In any case I was very surprised at these results and thought that they might make for a really interesting press release.

I know you’re really busy but I was wondering if you had any tips? One of my friends told me that graphs are a really good way of presenting data so I made a pie chart in excel. The only thing is I couldn’t figure out how to make the pie pieces different colours. Still I think it illustrates my research really well.

I’ve attached it for you to have a look at.

I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t look like pac man so I just changed the data to make it look more like a pac man. I’m guessing it’s ok to do that as no one will know the real results of my poll, right? Anyways, now if you tilt your head at the right angle it looks like a pac man. But not yellow. But yellow wouldn’t make sense because the poll’s about pink. Pink the colour that is, not pink the singer. I was a bit worried that people would be confused so I’ve titled the graph Pink Poll (NB the colour not the singer). Do you think that’s clear enough?

Would you be able to distribute my research alongside Ford’s? I think it makes the story more interesting. After all, who would’ve thought that only 37% of girls like pink! And it’s on a similar theme.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Love
Hannah

xxx

It’s been 24 hours, but sadly still no response from the PR guy.

I guess he’s just not that into me…

*sigh*

Perhaps I should send him some pink flowers to his office.

**Update: It ain’t over, til it’s over – the fat lady sings right here**

18 Comments

  1. […] Ford Online PR Versus The Blogger – ANewDayANewDawn.co.uk anewdayanewdawn.co.uk/2010/08/ford-online-pr-versus-the-blogger/ – view page – cached Dear readers, I’ve a confession to make. I’ve been a bad girl. I should go and sit on the naughty step. Tweets about this link […]

  2. Carly says:

    Love love love it – especially the pink pie chart!

  3. Hannah says:

    The pie chart took a long time actually.

    But then infographics do, right? 🙂

  4. Chris Theo says:

    Hah, that was great.

    Ford’s PR defeated by humour.

  5. Hannah says:

    Hello stranger – hope all’s well with you!

    Glad you liked the post 🙂

  6. Jane Copland says:

    Aaaah, Hannah, this is too good.

    And, um, I haven’t owned a car in a year and a half, but I don’t recall ever needing to straighten my hair whilst in my car. To be fair on Ford, I am blessed with very straight hair to begin with, and a certain degree of apathy towards the colour pink, but again, I can’t recall ever needing to do *anything* to my hair during my daily commute to work. Being a female and managing to stay on the correct side of the road was hard enough! Especially whilst being distracted by other bright colours and shiny things, and the worry about what the state of belongings in my boot.

    Did you happen to see the stupid email I received a couple of weeks ago that I posted on Facebook?

  7. Hannah says:

    Thanks Jane 🙂

    Yep, I saw the email – not at all belittling. Loved your response x

  8. Quentin says:

    So can I get one with ponies on or not?

    I got all confused after trying to work out the chart about Pink the singer.

  9. Hannah says:

    Hello Q!

    No ponies love… It sucks ass to be us 🙁

  10. Jules says:

    The thing is, I reckon my dad might appreciate a boot buddy; only not in pink. Oh and he’s is 65… Man, it’s going to suck big time over at when the head honchos at Ford work out they didn’t overlay the Market Research data with gender or age…I mean it’s easily done mind. How many people have an age or gender anyways?

  11. Hannah says:

    Data? Research? Overlay?

    Button, that’s proper marketing. This is social media silly, you don’t need to bother with all that.

  12. Othona says:

    Gosh I miss working with PR’s so much! Don’t they just seem so fun and silly!

  13. Hannah says:

    Yaddy!

    Maybe you should go back love?

    *runs away* 😉

  14. […] seemed that sadly, despite her best efforts to be charming, witty and playful the FordOnline PR guy just wasn’t that into […]

  15. […] the marketing guy could well have been tasked with the job of social mediaing something–probably something pink–and he needed some chicks to pimp it […]

  16. Jane Copland says:

    Hannah, I came across some similarly dumb marketing yesterday and wrote about it here: http://janecopland.co.uk/2010/08/what-motel-view-knows-about-marketing-favatars-2010/

    Similar nonsense to what Ford did in a way (and a chance for me to nerdily revisit one fo my favourite books, ha!)

  17. Milo says:

    LOL, that made me laugh! Have you ever seen this blog?

    http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html (that’s just one of them, but this reminded me a lot of his blogs :P)

  18. Hannah says:

    @Jane – hey you, thanks for the link love – will go check your post out now 🙂

    @Mummy’s Little Soldier – yep, seen it – I love that blog; and they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (or summat)

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