BEIJING -- China isn't just reshaping the world's vehicles. It also has taught foreigners a thing or two about selling cars back home.
In the United States, Ford Motor Co. wins praise for its innovative Fiesta Movement social media marketing blitz for its Fiesta small car. Ford gave Fiestas to 100 young drivers last year and asked them to post impressions on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
But Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing chief, says the idea came straight from Ford's China marketing team, which pioneered the idea while launching the Fiesta here. In China, where the government controls much of the traditional media, the Internet is a booming channel of freewheeling social interaction.
Farley says U.S. executives were stunned when their Chinese counterparts pitched the strategy: "People think of the U.S. as the most advanced social media market, but China is way out there."
It worked so well for the Fiesta that Ford now spends a quarter of its media budget on interactive marketing. Customers can expect a similar campaign for the launch of the re-engineered Focus.