Phew! We finally did it. After three and a half months the MSN UK Specials team achieved the ambitious page view target for the Ford C-MAX microsite.
It was a satisfying, if slightly anticlimactic, end to arguably one of the most ambitious campaign the Specials team has ever embarked on and Microsoft Advertising’s largest editorially-led advertising deal to date.
The project, based on the theme of innovation, technology and the future, involved commissioning, editing and creating over 100 galleries, articles and original video content for a bespoke microsite to re-launch the Ford C-MAX to the UK market. Content also appeared across mobile and Xbox Live.
MSN was a natural partner for Ford, who was looking for a collaborator with a reputation as a strong innovator with a technologically-advanced core business practice.
With ‘hero’ contributors including tech guru and TV presenter Suzi Perry, Intel futurologist Brian David Johnson and Microsoft’s very own Kinect king Kudo Tsunoda, the names behind the content fit Ford’s brief to showcase some of the best experts in their respective fields.
However not every one of the 108 content pieces could be written by a hero contributor, some of whom were not instantly known to our audience despite being well known in their fields.
The project was an exercise in continually evolving and fine-tuning the content plan to best meet Ford’s brief, the expectations of MSN’s demanding audience, and the goal of hitting such a huge page-view target.
We managed it by combining these contributions from leaders-in- their-fields with the content MSN users’ love - cars made from crazy materials, the world’s wackiest inventions, and the next generation of inventors to look out for - while sticking to Ford’s futuristic brief.
By noting which articles and galleries our readers loved and the names they found engaging and combining it with MSN UK’s impressive audience reach, we clocked up an enviable page dwell time of over four minutes per visit.
Advertorial specials, by their very nature can be niche. Creating and curating compelling content tied to a specific product and targeted audience (in this case men with an average age of 40 who are interested in cars, technology and innovation) can often be challenging, but the Ford C-MAX special went to prove that with a bit of fine tuning our readers are receptive and engaged by sponsored content, even when they are highly targeted.