Ford will become the first automaker (3/31) to launch a vehicle through primetime TV with “Escape Routes,” an hour-long NBC reality series produced by Ford and featuring the 2013 Ford Escape. The six-week show will follow six teams traveling cross-country in the small SUVs, which go on sale in June.
Teams will compete in challenges similar to swinging on a trapeze or walking on an airplane wing for a grand prize of $100,000 and two new Ford Escapes. Viewers can also vote for their favorite teams and compete online for trips, electronics and a new Escape as well. The road trip starts in Los Angeles and visits New York, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Viewers can follow the journey at escaperoutes.com. The effort integrates social media with TV to enlist audience participation and build buzz.
Neither Ford nor NBC would tell The Detroit News how much was spent on the series. “Escape Routes” will feature commercials for other products, but Ford will be the exclusive auto advertiser.
“Escape Routes” complements Ford’s sponsorships of two reality show hits, Fox’s “American Idol” and CBS’ “The Amazing Race.”
“Escape Routes” builds on Ford’s successful prelaunch social media campaigns for the new Fiesta and Focus models over the past few years, Ford spokeswoman Angie Kozleski told the paper.
Ford’s 2009 “Fiesta Movement” campaign showed 100 bloggers who shared their Fiesta driving experiences through social media and competed in monthly missions that educated audiences about the car.
Last year’s “Focus Rally: America” campaign for the 2012 Ford Focus featured six teams competing in a cross-country road rally similar to the one planned for Escape Routes. That competition aired on Hulu and attracted network attention and interest in a follow-up vehicle launch competition.