Historians will recall 2008 as the year online video became the main tool for public influence. First Obama ruled the web with constant updates, then McCain tried to catch up by showing off his bus. Now Ford is seeking to influence lawmakers with a microsite touting the benefits of the auto bailout.
Ford’s effort is comprehensive, with spokesperson Scott Monty reaching out to infuencers on Twitter and a web site filled with video from Ford execs explaining their vision and business plan. The site includes ways to share the message by posting on blogs (like this one), emailing friends, and even a ZIP Code lookup field that gives you the phone number of your local Congressional rep.
How many will this reach? Ford’s main web site got 3 million unique visitors in November, and the new “Story” microsite is heavily promoted on the Ford home page. For the polarizing forces on either end of the American apathetic spectrum most likely to swing the bailout vote in the U.S. Senate, Ford has created fluid access to its side of the story. It’s also worth noting who is missing from this picture: The newspaper and magazine editors who historically decided whether a press release was worth disseminating to the general populace.