Ford Airbag Game (?)
From: - Ford Motor Company, Dagenham
Date: - April 2001
Subject: - Fantastic new marketing plan, instant win airbag competition!
With third-quarter sales sluggish and its share of the domestic market down 11 percent since 1996, Ford unveiled a new instant-win airbag contest on Monday. The new airbags, which award fabulous prizes upon violent, high-speed impact with another car or stationary object, will come standard in all of the company's 2001 cars.
"Car accidents have never been so exciting," said Ford vice-president of marketing Roger Jenkins, who expects the contest to boost 2001 sales significantly. "When you play the new Ford Instant Win Airbag Game, your next collision could mean a trip for two to the FA Cup Final in Cardiff, or a year's worth of free Esso Unleaded."
Though it does not officially begin until May. 1, 2001, the airbag promotion is already being tested in select cities, with feedback overwhelmingly positive. "As soon as my car started to skid out of control, I thought to myself, 'Oh, boy, this could be it-I could be a big winner!'" said Cambridge's Bernard Freeman, who lost his wife but won a Ã?Â£50 accessories voucher on Sunday when the Escort 'Si' they were driving hit an oil slick at 60 mph and slammed into an oncoming truck.
"When the car stopped rolling down the embankment, I knew Ellen was dead, but all I could think about was getting the blood and glass out of my eyes so I could read that airbag!"
"It's really addictive," said Plymouth resident Peter Noods, speaking from his hospital bed, where he is listed in critical condition with severe brain haemorrhaging and a punctured right lung. "I've already crashed four cars trying to win those Cup Final tickets, but I still haven't won. I swear, I'm going to win those tickets-even if it kills me!"
Noods said that as soon as he is well enough, he plans to buy a new Mondeo LX and drive it into a tree in search of the winning bag. Ford officials are not surprised the airbag contest has been so well received. "In the past, nobody really liked car crashes, and that's understandable. After all, they're scary and dangerous and, sometimes, even Fatal," Ford CEO Paul Offerman said. "But now, when you drive a new Ford car or Iveco truck, 'your next serious crash could mean serious cash'. Who wouldn't like that?"
Offerman added that in the event a motorist wins a prize but is killed, that prize will be awarded to the next of kin. According to Ford's official contest rules, odds of winning the grand prize, a brand new 2001 Ford Focus Cosworth, are 1 in 43,000,000. Statistical experts, however, say the real chances of winning are significantly worse. "If you factor in the odds of getting in a serious car accident in the first place-approximately 1 in 720,000 - the actual odds of winning a prize each time you step in your car are more like 1 in 31 trillion." Further, even if one is in an accident, there is no guarantee the airbag will inflate.
"I was recently broadsided by a drunk driver in my new Galaxy," said Cardiff resident Dick Yaknasty. "My car was totalled, and because it was the side of my car that got hit, my airbag didn't even inflate. But what really gets me is the fact that the drunk driver, who rammed my side with the front of his 2001 Mondeo, won a Ã?Â£100 gift certificate. That's just wrong."