First, the FUN part: I got to drive the Mustang BULLITT Limited Edition! Three times!
Here's a video clip of someone else's turn that I shot with my new Instinct phone (note: I did clip off part of the raw video to get rid of some wind noise before the car got close enough to take over and I added the still frame at the beginning while I had it open in Adobe Premiere):
THANK YOU, to Scott Monty at Ford for having the wisdom to invite Yvonne and letting her bring me along to capture the visuals. You can learn more about Scott's thinking on this at his Social Media Marketing Blog. The event took place at the Ford Proving Grounds in Dearborn, MI (link to Google aerial view from Scott's post).
Now, I must admit that I'm old enough that I saw Bullitt at the theater several times, so driving this updated version of Steve McQueen's car on a track with a series of small hills and lots of curves really brought back memories and, no, I didn't get it airborn. But that puppy gets to
65 50 (we were only allowed to go 50 mph) out of a curve before you get through third gear and you're on the next curve ...
I'm also old enough to admit that if they'd offered me an Oprah-like gift of a free car and a choice between the Mustang Bullitt and this:
The 2009 Lincoln MKS that I drove twice was a very sweet drive. In the flat cone course, where it was pretty hard to even approach the 50 mph limit, I pushed it through the curves to the point where I expected some squeals and difficulty missing the cones and the car felt like it was enjoying toying with me. Smooth, solid, and totally under control. And the comfort ... well, I just expected that, and there was no room for disappointment. The only thing I could find to complain about was not knowing where all the controls were when I first climbed in. But it does have SYNC, so in many cases all I really had to do was ask.
So what's the blogging and social media lesson from all this? Well, you can check in with Scott for what he thinks Ford got out of inviting bloggers to what has previously been a traditional media day event. From my perspective, the bloggers got a lot more than a free trip to Dearborn and a chance to drive cars. And I'm not focusing on stuff like "respect" or a "seat at the table" with traditional media.
What I think makes this kind of outreach work for both sides is that the bloggers did what bloggers do best and got what bloggers need most. We networked with other bloggers and beyond. And we gathered material and created content of interest to our readers. Unfiltered and uncensored. In our own voices.
We were told up front that everything were saw and heard was on the record. And unencumbered by heavy equipment, I was able to snap pictures, shoot video clips as I saw fit, and share what I chose here.
One bit of feedback that Yvonne and I talked with Scott about at the end of the day was finding a way to build some writing/posting time into the day, with web access, to enable real-time blogging and audio or video podcasting. Scott seemed to think that was a good idea for next time ... Stay tuned!