Ford plans Hulu reality show for 2012 Focus


Ford will promote its new Focus in an online reality television show made with Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri, creators of “The Amazing Race.” The car will appear in “Focus Rally: America,” a five-week program streamed on Hulu beginning 2/1/11, the automaker said in a statement. The program, which won’t be broadcast on CBS as part of the regular “Amazing Race” show, will feature six teams of two people competing for $100,000 in a cross-country road rally.

“By teaming up with the talented co-creators of The Amazing Race and Hulu, we saw a tremendous opportunity to generate excitement and awareness of the 2012 Ford Focus,” Matt VanDyke, Ford’s Director of U.S. Marketing said in the statement. Viewers “will be riding along on a very entertaining virtual test drive.”

Ford is casting participants for the program at Ford is accepting applications for the show through mid-November at People also can apply in person at auditions in cities including Austin, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Seattle and Tampa. “We are looking for big personalities,” VanDyke said. “Somebody who is not afraid to be on camera.”

In 2009, Ford gave Fiestas to 100 “Fiesta Agents” for six months and encouraged them to post blogs, photos and videos on social media sites. For the Explorer, Ford created a page on Facebook, where it leaked teaser photos and gained nearly 40,000 friends before it revealed the new SUV on the site and in numerous cities.

With Focus: Rally America, consumers will be able to engage in three ways: watching the show on Hulu, becoming fans and followers of the rally teams on Facebook, and actively playing along in challenges to support their favorite team.

“Focus Rally: America is designed to give our audience an unprecedented level of engagement,” said van Munster. “Not only will viewers be able to follow along in real time, but followers will have the ability to impact the outcome of the game.”

As the vehicle that the competitors drive in the rally, the 2012 Ford Focus will be prominent throughout the program. Players will use the Focus’ class-leading new technology – such as Ford SYNC, MyFord Touch and the Navigation System – to complete tasks and challenges.

“It takes the very best elements of Fiesta Movement and combines that with the world-class quality of a reality program,” VanDyke said.

Said Doganieri: “When I think of Ford, I have a certain idea in my mind of what a Ford is, and these cars are very unlike anything that’s out there. They are very high-tech.”

Ford is launching the 2012 Focus in March.