Don’t forget the Motor City…

Innovation and Ford – the Backbone of Detroit

What do you get when you combine the Motor City, innovation, culture and a secret studio? You get a fantastic backdrop for a product launch.

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On May 16 -17, in the heart of the American automotive industry, lifestyle and auto media were invited to participate in the Ford Motor Company’s FORD MOTOR CITY INNOVATION TOUR.

What I really liked about being a part of this marketing initiative was the thought that went into crafting this event. I know, I know…there’s always strategic thinking involved in event planning. But, what I particularly appreciated about this launch, was the pulling together of the rich history of Detroit; combined with the innovation that the Ford Motor Company continues to demonstrate decade, after decade. The two really are so deeply entrenched it’s hard to see where one beings and the other ends.

For our media guests, the Ford Motor City Innovation Tour was framed as an experience in rediscovery. Shuttled around in a fleet of Ford Fusion Sport vehicles, the media explored some of Detroit’s cultural hot spots. Some of the highlights included:

  • The Heidelberg Project (HP). A non-profit, outdoor art community where recycled and found objects are turned into art. It is worth checking it out:
  • An evening with the Detroit Tigers—who unfortunately, lost to the Baltimore Orioles (13-11) in extra innings. Great view. We were practically sitting on the third base line
an evening with the detroit tigers
detroits oldest jazz club
  • Baseball was followed by a night cap at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge which is the city’s oldest jazz club
  • One of my favourite moments in Detroit—was the guided sunrise walking tour through the historical downtown 

As for the innovation component, enter Ford Motor Company. The following innovation pit stops were woven throughout the tour with the big reveal being the launch of the new Ford GT and Mustang! And, when I say innovation, I mean—the media were able to experience innovation at its best.

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  • Ford GT Secret studio. Key word ‘secret.’ I love this. Within the secret confines of the studio Ford took the best technology and design and approximately a year later the result was this supercar. Doesn’t it look like it came from a secret studio?!? (Photo courtesy or Ford Media)
  • Lunch with Mustang and Ford GT designers
  • Large scale 3D printing lab
  • Virtual reality lab
  • Studio 2000x. The technology and software utilized in this studio is the same as what a Hollywood animation team would use. A team of both designers and animators create shorts and the stars, are as one would expect,—the cars
  • Of course, a trip to the Motor City would not be complete without a stop at the Henry Ford Museum; where the stories of innovation unfold before your eyes. I believe the museum says it best… Put yourself in the place of the movers and shakers who blazed the trail to where we stand today. And in doing so, discover your own path. With this in mind, I wonder what Ford will do next?

Before I conclude, I would like to mention…not only is the mustang the world’s best-selling sports coupe; this new vehicle is the most advanced Mustang ever! As for the Ford GT, it remained a secret for so long because only limited individuals had access to the secret studio.

Lastly, it can be said that the Ford Motor Company is the anchor in the story of Detroit. And, it was incredible to be a partner in this tour, witnessing the media experience both the wonders of Detroit and Ford. In the business of experiential marketing, there are a lot of incredible events which create memorable experiences; but how many of these events do what was accomplished at the Ford Motor City Innovation Tour? How many are able to effortless intertwine culture and innovation to generate some zing?

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