Best practice from Midnight Communications
Fordness Launch Campaign - ‘Delivering Full Screen Video over the Ford of Europe Network’ - powered by Vividas’s streaming media technology solution and managed by Ogilvy (in close cooperation with Ford of Europe)
To deliver across the Ford of Europe intranet a video of the FoE Chairman John Fleming introducing a preview of the new Ford S-MAX TV advert due to be screened later that evening on TV.
The campaign was to launch Ford of Europe’s new brand articulation ‘Feel the Difference’ to its European employees.
The Campaign - The Concept
It was after an initial meeting in November 2005 that the idea of streaming a video presentation throughout the Ford of Europe organisation was first discussed. Vividas London had just presented their new video streaming technology solution to Ogilvy outlining the key benefits of the Vividas player namely the player being embedded within the video stream. This meant the end user did not require any install or download, just a simple click on a link and the stream started.
For a corporate environment, this was an ideal solution as it overcame the issues of having to update to different version media players, required no software installation on the end users behalf, consumed less bandwidth and delivered a full screen TV experience.
The goal was to deliver on 17th May a four minute video, combining a sneak preview of the new Ford S-MAX TV advertisement with a presentation by John Fleming introducing the marketing focus and direction of the new Ford of Europe overall brand strategy – ‘Feel the Difference’.
The Ford S-MAX TV advert was scheduled for its first airing across many European markets during the half time break of the UEFA Champions League Final during that evening.
This was to be the first time the Chairman of Ford Europe had spoken directly to Ford employees via a full screen TV quality video. He was filmed a few days before the scheduled launch talking about the Ford strategic direction and ‘Feel the Difference’ - which the whole company is embracing.
This was not just to be a company communication; it was to herald a new beginning for Ford employees to experience for themselves the company’s commitment of making a difference.
Once the overall project idea had been agreed, a project team was formed - spearheaded by Ogilvy and Rob Macrae and Gary Cleasby (both FoE). On the team were representatives from FoE’s technical IT team who were to play a crucial part in the delivery of the video, Ford of Europe Public Affairs who filmed and edited the John Fleming video and translated it into the five languages required, Vividas who brought the technology and streaming video expertise and Wunderman who created the initial email teaser in five languages scheduled to be sent to Ford employees two days before the actual Fordness launch date.
From a technical perspective, the project meant delivering over four minutes of video to 22,000 desktops across Europe in five languages to be viewed simultaneously by employees when they arrived for work on the Wednesday morning.
Of the potential problems initially faced, the biggest one was the restriction of the internal bandwidth capacity if thousands started viewing the video at the same time across the intranet and the result this might have on the Ford network as a whole.
As Vividas technology was the core component of the streaming solution, they led the technical team and devised a strategy for Ford overcoming the bandwidth restrictions whilst still delivering the full screen TV quality experience for Ford employees.
This entailed encoding two versions of the video for each of the five languages, one for streaming and the other to be loaded onto desktops as exe files. Once this was agreed, the rest of the campaign planning was carried out seamlessly.
The Ford Technical team ensured that every computer across Europe had the exe file loaded onto it. The video was also loaded onto the internal website for those wanted to watch it and who were not on the original email list.
Working alongside was the Wunderman interactive agency who had prepared the email teaser in five languages and embedded the relevant links into the email. The email was the first announcement to Ford employees of the video stream and it succeeded in creating a general buzz of anticipation.
The solution had final testing the day before the launch and shown to be robust across the network.
Between the hours of 7am and 9am (BST) on the 17th of May, over 13,000 people (i.e. 61 % of the total number of employees emailed) across Europe arrived at work and watched the John Fleming video presentation and the new Ford S-MAX TV advertisement with a no buffering, full screen TV quality experience.
To date over 81% of the Ford employees emailed (or 18,000 people) have watched the Fordness video and it is still registering daily views.
The result was an overwhelming success. Over 61% of Ford employees who logged on that morning were the first to see the sneak preview of the new Ford S-MAX TV ad and the video of John Fleming.
Over the next few days, the remainder had the chance to view the video.
With the tracking and stats available with Vividas streaming media solution, Ford were able to see the countries people had viewed the video in, how long people had watched the video for, whether they had watched it more than once , time people watched the video. It was useful information to have because it made evaluating the campaign so much easier.
For the technical teams it had been a huge success. What had initially seemed impossible, happened seamlessly for them and the end user. There were only four calls for technical support and of these three had been incorrectly sent the link and the fourth needed to reboot.
Feedback from Ford employees came in thick and fast and the conclusion from all was that it had been a winner!
Examples of the feedback from Ford employees (some of which was direct feedback to the FoE CEO John Fleming):
‘Great to see our advertising / marketing coming across in such an inspiring way + the delivery of this message to the FMC teams with a more personal touch from yourself, as it both motivates & generates a buzz prior to tonight's roll out’.
‘Impressive, really brilliant. Congratulations!!’
‘Watched the game yesterday (and the break)’. This is really the first time I feel emotional about a TV spot for our European products. Seems something has dramatically changed in our marketing strategy. Great! Continue like this!’
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