Ford created my favorite YouTube campaign of all time. It took place in 2011 and starred an orange, irreverent puppet named Doug and his reluctant co-worker, John. The two appeared in several videos about the Ford Focus.
The campaign was brilliant and had all the elements you want in a video campaign. Each video was unique, branded, provided value propositions, and made the viewer smile. Ford released a new video each week, and I was always excited to see the new adventures of Doug the spokespuppet.
Before the campaign officially launched, a few random YouTube users posted videos of a puppet doing miraculous things like performing CPR and thwarting a burger. Fords seems to have seen these videos, then hired the extraordinary puppet to introduce the new Focus.
After launch, the campaign followed Doug and John as they traveled the country in a Focus, meeting strangers and interacting with each other. Doug was a fun guy who would bully the “boring” John and flirt with women whenever possible.
The campaign extended beyond YouTube to Facebook and Twitter, where John and Doug shared their toxic but hilarious relationship with the public. Ford ended the series with Doug ditching John on the side of the road and driving off with the Focus.
The campaign was a success. Scott Monty, the Ford exec who oversaw the campaign, told Brandchannel,
77 percent of people who saw the 48 Focus Doug videos to date said their favorability toward Focus has risen, and Doug’s adventures have prompted a 61 percent increase in Focus consideration. We’ve even had a handful of people say that they bought a Focus just because of Doug.
The other day, I searched YouTube in hopes of watching an episode or two. I was shocked to find that Ford has removed all the Doug videos from YouTube. Blogs and websites that had embedded the original videos show that each video has been made private and cannot be viewed by the public.
Even the “rogue” YouTube channels that uploaded the pre-campaign videos are now private. However, the YouTube channels are still up, and it seems no content has been deleted from the Twitter and Facebook accounts.
How do you follow up a successful video content campaign? Where is Doug? Is he on the road somewhere saving lives and thwarting robberies? Did he and John reunite and are pushing that Ford Focus to its limits? Or maybe, and this is my hope, this is all part of the act and Ford is simply waiting for the right moment to bring back the most successful spokespuppet of all time for take two.
If you want to watch some of the videos from this campaign, it seems a handful of YouTube users were able to grab copies of the videos before they were made private. Here’s a YouTube Playlist with 8 of the videos.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.