Disclosure: I own F shares
Fifty years after Ford's (NYSE:F) first Mustang model made its debut at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City, the new 2015 model has made it to the top of the Empire Empire State Building.
No, it didn't climb the walls like King Kong. It wasn't airlifted up there either. Engineers cut up one of the cars and took the pieces to to the top of the Empire State Building where it was reassembled for the buzz.
Yes, the buzz.
Ford chose the right place and the right time to launch their message about the new Mustang, in our opinion.
Buzz is very important for helping a new product succeed. Especially when it comes to consumer products like automobiles whereby buzz brings the traffic into showrooms.
But buzz doesn't usually happen by accident. It is the result of a well-orchestrated marketing campaign that follows several steps: Begin with the consumer; be innovative; target the right group; create the right message; and find the right social context to launch the message.
The right social context is the set of conditions and the circumstances that make it more likely for the product message to reach quickly a critical mass of consumers. It is like the magnifying lenses that lets consumers zoom in on something, seeing it in ways they never saw it before, or paid attention to it before. Consumers can imagine things they never imagined before, stirring up emotions and schemes of action that create a passion for the product.
The same message can make different impressions in different times and places, i.e, Conditions. These are the specific socio-geographic characteristics of a place that make it ideal for promoting product awareness and igniting WOM and buzz–which feed into a "contagion," the copying and mimicking of the behavior of others. Among the characteristics that come to play are reputation, visibility, population density, frequency of interaction, social structure, and geography.
Circumstances is about the prevailing ideology at the time the marketing campaign is launched, the prevailing trends and controversies that stir interest and desire in a product, seducing the fantasy of a critical mass of consumers and fueling a contagion, the herd-like mentality that has consumers rushing to get a hold of the product.
Obviously, New York City–and the Empire State, in particular–meets all the characteristics of the condition of spreading the message about the new Mustang model, especially, geography, visibility, and population density. And April 16, in the the middle of the NYC World Fair, is the ideal circumstance.
We predict it will stir vivid memories of the first launch of the iconic brand.
Will the campaign work?
It remains to be seen.