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Ford’s Socially Responsible Comeback

April 10th, 2010 | by dominique |
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With the majority of the American auto industry in shambles, Ford Motor Company has made heroic efforts in marketing to both maintain its company image and stay financially afloat. In executing these plans, however, Ford has gone beyond mere brand maintenance to a company well on its way to a complete revitalization of its image.
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To propel the trend, Ford has pushed a company-wide commitment to social issues. Among other efforts, the automaker has attached itself to Invisible People TV, a movement whose sole purpose is to shed light on the plight of America’s homeless.
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Spearheaded by Mark Hovarth, himself formerly homeless, Invisible People TV’s mission is to share the stories of homeless people across the country. By featuring an individual’s experience– or even simply his or her name– Hovarth believes that we can begin to humanize the entirety of the nation’s homeless population.
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The effort has grown to be one of the best examples of how one can harness the power of social media to raise awareness for a cause. To begin with, the campaign’s primary communication with its supporters happens through their website, invisiblepeople.tv. Furthermore, the campaign delivers its fundamental message through short video features shared on its vlog. Invisible People TV is also active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a number of other prominent social media platforms.
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In March of 2010, Hovarth’s successful use of social media to champion his cause earned him a $50k grant from the SXSW Pepsi Refresh Challenge. He will use the grant to launch a training program that will teach homeless individuals how to use social media as a tool through which they can tell their own stories.

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Presently, Invisible People TV is taking a cross-country road tripin a number of 2010 Ford vehicles– with the goal of building video profiles of homeless people literally across the nation. In order to capture footage that accurately reveal their stories, the crew will visit tent cities, motels, and other accomodations that the homeless may frequent..

Learn more about Ford’s support for  and connection to Invisible People TV here.
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  1. 5 Responses to “Ford’s Socially Responsible Comeback”

  2. By Scott Monty on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for noticing Mark's efforts and Ford's involvement, Dominique. We were (and continue to be) proud to be associated with his work.

    I should note, though, that Ford's commitment to social issues isn't something that's new. In fact, it goes back to the very roots of our existence. Henry Ford himself believed in social responsibility. In January 1914, he startled the world by announcing that Ford Motor Company would pay $5 a day to its workers – nearly double the previous wage. At the same time he reduced the workday from 9 hours to 8 hours. And he famously said, "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business."

    We've had that kind of thinking as part or our corporate DNA ever since. If you'd like to see exactly what Ford supports, check outhttp://www.ford.com/our-values/ford-fund-communit

    Scott Monty
    Global Digital Communications
    Ford Motor Company

  3. By Klaus Holzapfel on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Scott,
    I also feel that the project we portayed goes back to the roots of your company. Ford has a tradition to make affordable cars for the masses (let's maybe leave the GT40 aside). The project you picked highlights a problem that is unfortunately rising these days and affects all of us in some way. At the end we need solidarity to solve the issues we are facing. This wasn't anything expensive but it looked really genuine. Well done.

    A lot of companies are hopping on the cause marketing band wagon right now. Having a nearly 100 year old history in trying to make a difference clearly sets you apart.

    Please let us know if you ever want to spin some cause marketing ideas around. We are pretty passionate about this and started our own non-profit to be more actively involved.

    We are actually “partners in (fighting) crime”: The Ford Foundation sponsored an organization in South Africa that we are also supporting (Sonke Gender Justice / Grassroots Soccer). Following your lead made it easy for us to find a great partner organization since we could rely on your due diligence.

  4. By Klaus_Holzapfel on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Scott,
    I also feel that the project we portayed goes back to the roots of your company. Ford has a tradition to make affordable cars for the masses (let's maybe leave the GT40 aside). The project you picked highlights a problem that is unfortunately rising these days and affects all of us in some way. At the end we need solidarity to solve the issues we are facing. This wasn't anything expensive but it looked really genuine. Well done.

    A lot of companies are hopping on the cause marketing band wagon right now. Having a nearly 100 year old history in trying to make a difference clearly sets you apart.

    Please let us know if you ever want to spin some cause marketing ideas around. We are pretty passionate about this and started our own non-profit to be more actively involved.

    We are actually "partners in (fighting) crime": The Ford Foundation sponsored an organization in South Africa that we are also supporting (Sonke Gender Justice / Grassroots Soccer). Following your lead made it easy for us to find a great partner organization since we could rely on your due diligence.

  5. By Mapquest directions on May 7, 2010 | Reply

    ford will always be great and they will evolve with time and trends

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