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Would You Swap Your Ride?

My friend, William "DC" Clark is featured in the new Ford "Swap Swap_3 Your Ride" campaign. It's so cool to see he and his family on television with him talking about the Ford Expedition.

With the new campaign, Ford went undercover to find out what would happen if people who own other brands of vehicles were to get behind the wheel of a Ford. Clark and his family thought they were attending a party. Little did they know, they would become a part of a national marketing campaign.

In all, 90 competitive vehicle owners from New York, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles agreed to evaluate one of 11 Ford vehicles, including a Ford Fusion, Focus, Mustang, Taurus, Edge, Escape, Escape Hybrid, Expedition, Expedition EL, F-150 or F-Series Super Duty during a week-long test drive.

The subsequent "Swap Your Ride" television commercials, which take their inspiration from the reality TV phenomenon, feature candid feedback from people who thought they were test-driving vehicles for market research.

"When consumers experience a new Ford vehicle for themselves -- especially when they haven't driven one of our products lately -- it's almost always an eye-opening experience," said Barry Engle, general manager, Ford Marketing. "In 'Swap Your Ride,' real people tell this story in their own words."

"Swap Your Ride" participants were asked before and after their test-drive experience whether they would be open to purchasing or leasing a Ford vehicle in the future. The results: Purchase consideration following consumers' week-long product evaluation doubled to nearly 80 percent.

Since the debut of the Fusion Challenge campaign with the help of Car and Driver in January, Ford broadcast, print and digital ads have emphasized the strength of its products versus the competition. "Swap Your Ride" is the latest to embrace that third party marketing approach.

"It really takes the credibility of a third party, in this case having actual people share their experiences, that we believe makes 'Swap' so effective," said Kim Cape, communications manager for Ford Division marketing and sales. "We're letting consumers speak candidly about our products."

The campaign is backed by an offer of up to $1,000 "Swap Bonus Cash" through Oct. 1 on most 2007 and 2008 model year vehicles in addition to all existing retail and lease offers.

The first of 28 "Swap Your Ride" television commercials, including Spanish-language ads, began airing last week. Print executions in USA Today and in major Top 25 market newspapers debuted Friday, Sept. 7.

Digital advertising for "Swap Your Ride" also will appear on a variety of sites including Google, Yahoo!, MSN and other automotive research sites. In addition, fordchallenge.com features additional behind-the-scenes footage compiled during the clinics.

Click here for DC's commercial.

Click here for the "Behind the Scenes" video.