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2006 FORD FUSION TAKES STARRING ROLE IN ASIAN- AMERICAN SOAP OPERA

  • Ford Fusion creates drama with an extensive TV, print, and digital marketing campaign aimed at young Asian Americans
  • www.getintofusion.com is the first content rich domestic in-language automotive web site developed by Ford to target Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Pan-Asian consumers

Los Angeles, Nov.18 – Ford is marketing its boldly-styled new sedan – the 2006 Ford Fusion – to Asian-American consumers with an integrated broadcast, print and digital campaign with an innovative twist – a soap opera feel inspired by South Korean television dramas.

“South Korea-produced television soap operas and dramas are enormous hits across Asia, from Taiwan to Thailand,” states Young Kim, founder and president of PanCom International, Ford’s Los Angeles-based Asian-American advertising agency. “In the U.S., Korean soaps often have higher ratings than network television in the same time slots.”

“Asian Americans are one of the most wired groups with over 70 percent going online every day,” Kim adds. “Realizing the importance of digital technology, we found a way to tie Fusion into the soap phenomenon to get the attention of our audience and drive them to the web.”

All TV, print, digital ads and grass roots events in the campaign are designed to drive traffic to the new web site www.getintofusion.com and generate handraisers – consumers who are interested in receiving more vehicle information.

The site is one of the first content-rich automotive sites developed specifically for Asian Americans and can be viewed in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and English languages.

“Ford has identified upwardly mobile – and maturing – ‘Generation X’ (age 25-34) consumers as the target for Fusion, and their tastes in music and technology have influenced the development of the entire Fusion marketing campaign,” said David Rodriguez, Ford Multicultural Marketing Communications Manager.

Two 30-second television ads, “The Meeting” and “Club Date,” shot by Korean director, Chan Kim, will air starting this week. The target audience: young Asian Americans living in California.

Produced in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese languages, as well as in English, the television spots introduce a cast of characters that frequent a nightclub called “Fusion.” Like all soaps, the TV spots set the stage for sub-plots featuring four main characters – Tommy, Jasmine, Simon and Chan. Viewers are encouraged to get more of the story online by going on the web to www.getintofusion.com.

On the new site, visitors can read about the characters and their backstories, mix their own music, learn about Fusion club night events that Ford will be sponsoring in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York, and receive detailed information on the new Ford Fusion.

“While young Asian Americans seem more assimilated to American ways, they strive to hold on to their heritage,” states Young Kim. “As a result, they have defined their own culture, distinct from those who live in Asia. By blending traditional elements into some of the hottest trends, young Asian Americans have created a new wave of culture that has swept across the U.S. It was important for our advertising to reflect this new culture.”

The TV spots are supported by an outdoor and print campaign that showcases the characters along with the 2006 Ford Fusion. The comedic headlines tie in to the soap opera theme and story while touting Fusion features, such as its gas mileage “32 mpg,” power, “221 horsepower” and technological innovations, “Class Exclusive V-6 auto-transmission.”

The new 2006 Ford Fusion is expected to breathe new life into the car segment with its new bold style. “The mid-size car segment is very competitive. It is a challenge to find innovative ways to get the consumer’s attention and reach this younger audience,” states Linda Perry-Lube, Ford Car Communications Manager. “Ford understands the need to do more than just advertise in-language. It's about understanding the culture, values and purchasing preferences of specific ethnic groups.”

The Fusion is already benefiting from an extensive pre-launch marketing campaign that has generated more than 175,000 hand raisers. At this pace, Fusion will match the launch-year hand raiser total generated by the hugely successful launch of the 2004 F-150.

Fusion ads will air on top cable stations like KTSF, KSCI, Saigon TV and AZN during popular drama and entertainment series. Print spreads are running in major Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Pan-Asian magazines. Digital banners are running on top Pan-Asian sites such as www.sina.com, www.azntv.com and www.goldsea.com. Outdoor will be posted in high-traffic locations such as Boba shops, malls and restaurants throughout Northern and Southern California.

About the Ford Fusion

The 2006 Ford Fusion is one of the most distinctive sedans on the road. It offers a unique combination of styling, tough build, spacious and versatile interiors, and superior driving experience. Fusion achieves very good fuel economy, thanks to advanced engine and transmission technology – EPA estimated 29-mpg highway for V-6 models and up to 32mpg for four-cylinder models. It also is very affordable: a well-equipped Fusion has a low base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,795 including destination.