In the past couple of weeks, Ford has quietly introduced Doug, an orange puppet, to publicize the company’s 2012 Focus. Doug is a social media animal — appearing only on YouTube, Twitter and (soon) Facebook.
Ford’s got some major Hollywood comedy talent behind Doug’s adventures, including Paul Feig, a director for The Office and Freaks and Geeks; and Rob Cohen, a writer for The Simpsons. John Ross Bowie, an actor and comedian who has appeared on Reno 911 and Curb Your Enthusiasm, among other places, and actor/comedian Paul F. Tompkins, of Anchorman: The Legend of Run Burgundy, also play John, the Ford Guy, and Doug, the Puppet, respectively.
Scott Monty, Ford’s global digital and multimedia communications manager, tweeted about a video of Doug thwarting a robbery to get the campaign going early this month. Since then, the video has gotten close to 350,000 views on YouTube, making it one of Ford’s most-viewed videos. Ford has loaded a half-dozen videos on focusdoug’s channel, including a press conference introducing Doug. (See the video above.)
Jon Beebe, digital marketing manager for Ford, says there will be a few videos added every week during the next few months that follow a story arc, but Beebe says these aren’t webisodes per se, but rather just an online advertising effort. The goal, says Beebe, is to reach consumers who don’t really know Ford Focus or know it only as an econo-box.