Our blog is intended to keep a pulse on all things interactive marketing. Fortuitously for us, in March, our social media intern Luke Phillips had his concept for a Ford Explorer roadtrip chosen through a Ford Facebook contest. His reward was having the road trip filmed as part of a series of webisodes produced by Ford. The segment will also appear later in the year on Outside Television. He has created a series of blog posts detailing a behind the scenes look at the hilarious, hectic, and sometimes chaotic trip of his life. You may want to watch the trailer or webisode, if you haven’t seen it yet.
The Social Media Evolution:
Or How I Traveled America Using Ford’s Credit Card
There is nothing more American than cheeseburgers, awful reality television shows, and road trips. Beginning with the Eisenhower interstates, road trips just seemed like something we HAD to do. Hollywood got the road trip bug in the 80s when they churned out interstate classics such as Planes, Trains & Automobiles, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and The Blues Brothers. Many intrepid youth have crafted big road trip plans for the greatest adventure of their lives, but in the end, they never have the money to pull it off. And there is no magical car company that is going to come in and give you a car, foot the bill, and make a movie about the whole thing. Unless you know where to look…
Where to Look (Wasn’t that easy?)
Social media has skyrocketed in the past few years. Name a company and they’re probably somewhere in social media. Companies have begun devoting serious chunks of budget to it. Enter Ford Motor Company. They were an early adopter of Facebook and Twitter and produce tons of original content for their YouTube channel. This year, they have created the “Go Do Adventure” campaign. Available only to those who enter on Facebook, users are asked to answer a simple question, “If you were given a Ford Explorer for a week, what would you do?” If Ford liked your idea you were … well, given a Ford Explorer for a week.
And, when your job title has ‘Social Media’ in it like mine does, you tend to catch wind of these things. I guess if you want to get technical, my official job title hovers somewhere between “that guy” and “the secretary’s secretary,” but I took some creative liberties. The concept of a road trip was interesting, so I used my life approach of “Eh, why not?” and tossed my idea in the hat. Although, this was one of my few “Eh, why not?” moments that wouldn’t require the later use of crutches.
As a native St. Louis, Missourian, I know winters cold enough to freeze ponds over – which never occurs here in Texas at the WrightIMC headquarters. There are plenty of fun things to do in Dallas, but playing hockey on a frozen pond just isn’t an option. I’ve played hockey my whole life, and when a pond freezes over, that can only mean one thing: Pond Hockey. The premise is simple: you play hockey just as you would on a typical ice rink – but on a frozen-over pond. As with many other pastimes, pond hockey has developed a “dangerous” label. Luckily, logic has never played a huge role in my life, and I answered Ford’s question with, “If given a Ford Explorer for a week, my brothers and I would go play pond hockey in Minnesota.” It was more long-winded than that, but I’ll save you the whole sob story.
I expected this to go pretty similar to me trying to meet women. I had used my best line and told them how to get in touch with me. At best, I’d hear nothing and forget it ever happened. At worst, they would call me and get my hopes up, only to realize they meant to call the guy whose number they got on the other side of my napkin. So, I tried to not think too much into it when someone called from Ford asking for some more information. But then, like Blues and Panthers coach Mike Keenan trying to trade away a franchise goaltender, they just kept calling and talking about this grand plan about actually playing pond hockey in Minnesota. I had actually convinced myself that, just like hitting on women, it was all going to blow up in my face and nothing would happen, so I made sure to tell no one to avoid later embarrassment.
All Good Things Must Come to a Beginning
However, I quickly found myself on the phone with a director in California who was going to direct this whole extravaganza.Thomas Campbell and Woodshed Films, both noted for their surfing films, were slated to direct and produce the final product. Thomas had sent me some of his previous work and it was great, but as we talked, he came clean about his hockey knowledge:
“So Luke…explain to me how pond hockey works?”
As I explained the nuances of pond hockey to him, how there weren’t really set teams, the free-for-all feel, and playing for fun and not the score, it was obvious he was getting excited about the possibilities and the gears were turning in his head. Keep in mind, as he talked about his ideas, I was still in ‘it’s not gonna happen’ mode.
“I think this is going to be amazing. We’ve found a place to use in Minneapolis, and we’re set to begin filming in about a week.”
A week! I thought: “Um…”
This whole concept I had created was around my brothers and I. It occurred to me that maybe I should have told them. And Thomas had thrown in the fact he wanted three of our friends to go as well. I began frantically making phone calls convincing everyone to drop their lives for a week to roadtrip to Minnesota in a brand new Explorer to be in a Ford short film about pond hockey, all expenses paid. This is when I learned that it’s ridiculously easy to sell something that’s free. My twin brothers, Tim and David, were on board, and our friends Nitin, Shane, Tim A. were also coming with us.
We were to begin filming in St. Louis, and I was still in Dallas at the WrightIMC offices. I hastily cleared my schedule of my important social events (read: turned my TV off) and drove to St. Louis about 12 hours before the film crew arrived to the family home where the documentary was going to start. We had a meet and greet on Sunday with the massive number of personnel on hand for the trip and prepped the brand new Explorer for its trip across America to play hockey. We were pretty excited about it, but we had no idea that in a few days we’d be sitting on a plane saying, “This was easily the coolest thing to ever happen to me.”
The next part of the ‘behind the scenes’ look at the filming experience and all the other happenings that made it the most ridiculous ride can be found here. Find out more by following WrightIMC on Twitter, or you can head over to Ford Explorer and WrightIMC’s Facebook page.