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Ford C-MAX Goes Social with a Live Animation on Instagram (Sponsored Post)

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Recently, the latest stage of the Ford C-MAX promotional campaign, C-MAX Live, was revealed at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Its crux: Imagine yourself part of a live crowd-sourced animation on Instagram—that’s C-MAX Live.

So how did this unique social idea begin? It started this past fall with the 2013 Ford C-MAX launch. The advertising reintroduced the world to La Linea, a simple line-drawn character many may remember from the original cartoons. Run in TV, print, digital and out of home ads, the campaign was in need of a social component that could familiarize people with this fun character and the C-MAX brand.

And what better way to do that than literally invite users into this character’s world?

Marrying traditional and social media in a totally new way, the idea was to design a story centered on real people helping La Linea. Sixty-eight individual frames would then be pulled from the animation to create single out of home boards in the 10 major C-MAX markets. These placements would include wild postings, mall kiosks, movie theatres and events. Passersby would then be invited to line up their bodies in front of dotted lines and have a friend take their pic with Instagram with the hashtag C-MAX Live. Those photos would then be stitched back together to form a live crowd-sourced animation populated with people all over the country, available to be seen right away on the site cmaxlive.com.

CMAX Image 1

The brainchild of Ford’s advertising agency, Team Detroit, the concept was exciting, the storyboard solid and the basic proportions easy for people to participate in, but they needed a strong partner. Enter the filmmakers from Shilo to finesse the actions and pinpoint frame rates in order to ensure the still images moved at the same speed as the character. Add that to some major math and Shilo’s animation expertise … and it was time for the digital build.

Rehabstudios was brought in to design the back end. Through the use of object recognition bar codes, Rehab was able to mark each board in order to make sure every Instagram image would be pulled into the right place within the animation. Users would then be directed to go to a landing page to not only check themselves out, but see any of their friends who had also joined in the fun. In addition, users could find other boards in their area, as well as share their animation with friends.

Thanks to a constant stream of new photos coming in, the animation will always be dynamic—so it’s never the same twice. Which means all the more reason to see it, share it, and enjoy it again and again.

The excitement began May 1. So, keep your eyes open for C-MAX boards in the wild or search for a board near you (or a friend) at cmaxlive.com. Fans at home can watch in real time as the animation populates with real people from across the country.

And remember: If you snap a pic with La Linea, don’t forget to smile.

Karen Untereker is the U.S. Social Media Manager for Ford Motor Company.


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  • Ron Kramer

    Open letter to Ford:

    I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been ok with low 40’s but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark. This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX. Real world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30’s. No one would have questioned those numbers and the CMAX would have received the accolades it deserves. How these MPG estimates made it through Ford corporate is beyond me! Maybe it was the rush to go to market?

    I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. For the record, during the last three years I have leased both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler. My mileage in the Prius is 50 plus, the Insight is 40 plus. The C-MAX is a well-built car, with extremely inflated EPA estimates.

    I respectfully request that this matter be investigated as soon as possible. My efforts to deal with this locally and through Ford customer service have frustrated me to no end. The constant response? “You need to learn to how to drive hybrid type of vehicle “. Is there a difference how I drive Prius Hybrid vs. the CMAX hybrid? I think we all know the answer to that. I need someone at Ford to reach out to me and assist in a proactive manner so we can put this matter to rest. I have opted not to join the class action lawsuit regarding this matter in order to explore my resolution options with Ford directly feeling this was the most honest approach to the matter. Can I expect the same from Ford in return?

    Respectfully submitted,

    Ronald Kramer
    Yankee Ford Customer
    South Portland, Maine

    PO Box 2517
    South Portland, ME 0411

    • Allison

      Hi Ron,

      I highly suggest sending your letter to Ford directly. This is a sponsored post their social media team wrote for our blog specifically about their Instagram campaign, so I’m not sure it will be seen by the right people here.

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