Climate change, global warming, and a carbon footprint are environmental issues of concern for many people. Yet despite this increasing interest in the detrimental changes to the planet and a willingness to seek out green alternatives, sales of the hybrid and plug in electric cars have not generated the level of anticipated commercial success since their launch ten years ago. With rigorous campaigning by environmental groups and celebrity endorsements (Leonardo DiCaprio drives a Toyota Prius) having little effect, crowdsourcing the electric car may be the way forward.
Ford is one of the best examples of successful crowdsourcing use. To increase interest and sales in the US for their new model, Ford launched the Fiesta Movement last summer, a two stage campaign in which ordinary people became the company’s advertisers. The first stage invited people to become “agents” in what Ford described as “the ultimate foreign exchange program”.
From over 4,000 applicants, 100 people were chosen to spend six months test driving their very own Fiesta, video their experiences and share them online. To make the exercise more fun, Ford set missions with each month consisting of a different theme including Travel, Social Activism, and even recreating favourite movie moments centred on the Fiesta. The second stage (curently ongoing) is the same as the first but this time involving teams of agents taking part in missions and submitting their video recordings. People are then encouraged to view the submissions and vote on what they feel are the best ones, with the winning team being awarded a cash prize. All comments and recordings are then shared on blogging and social networking sites.
The main take-away in this case, however, is that clean technology does not speak for itself. It takes a community of enthusiastic supporters to drive widescale market demand. By harnessing the power of crowdsourcing, electric car firms can increase their market base and enhance their triple bottom-line.
Shannon Arvizu, Ph.D
With the buzz generated from the Fiesta Movement, a similar campaign may help overcome the difficulties in marketing the electric car. Perhaps the ultimate mountain that the electric car has to climb is the technology is yet to be fully understood by the average motorist. Crowdsourcing may be the tool with which to educate the public about the electric car’s capabilities, fuel efficiency, and environmental benefits. The Fiesta Movement has shown that motorists sharing information and experiences with one another can be more effective than an auto industry expert in a polished ad campaign.
Do you drive (or wish you drive) an electric car? What can you tell us about your experience? Leave a comment below.