Tag: ford

Coast to Coast with “Focus Rally: America”

Like many red-blooded Americans, the idea of going on a cross-country road trip has an undeniable allure for me. I have fond memories of piling into the car for family vacations, and years of watching road movies have convinced me that there’s no better way to experience personal growth. I’m also a fan of living vicariously through reality television, so it’s probably no surprise that I’ve been hooked on Focus Rally: America ever since I wrote ARGNet’s first article on the game. The reality show features six teams of two as they travel across the country, competing in challenges for a chance at $100,000 and a 2012 Ford Focus. So far, the teams have danced in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, shot hoops with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in Dallas, and engaged in aerial acrobatics in Arizona. They even held a singing and songwriting competition, providing the hilarious footage below.

Focus Rally: America offers viewers the opportunity to vicariously follow contestants via livestream from their cars in between daily episodes posted to the show’s Hulu channel. Viewers can interact more directly by chatting with the contestants online or solving puzzles. While most puzzles typically consist of solving 3×3 slide puzzles and answering trivia questions, a few have involved talking contestants through solving the Tower of Hanoi puzzle, explaining tangrams, submitting photographs to Facebook, and even making an air freshener for the car. Since the Focus Rally website tracks the GPS locations of contestants, some fans have met up with teams on the road to cheer them on. And for one event in Texas, fans were invited to join the contestants for a cook-out challenge. Players can even vote for rewards and punishments for the various teams, ranging from hotel room service to a parrot costume the Red Team will soon be sporting on the road.

I spoke with Elise Doganieri, one of the Focus Rally producers and co-creator of The Amazing Race, who noted that “typically with a reality show, you don’t want people to know what the contestants are doing or where they’re going, but this is the complete opposite: you want people to know where the contestants are and see what they’re doing so they can cheer them on and help them.”

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Ford Shifts into Overdrive with “Focus Rally: America” Campaign

Reality show audiences can often support their favorite contestants by calling in votes. Focus Rally: America is taking audience participation to another level by bringing fans directly into the action by solving puzzles and completing challenges to help their favorite teams and accumulate points for a series of prize drawings. The Ford Motor Company partnered with the creators of The Amazing Race to produce the show, with episodes scheduled to begin February 5th.

The show itself follows six teams of two people as they drive across the country in the new 2012 Ford Focus competing in tasks. Fans can follow their progress in real-time online on a GPS-enabled map, and long- and short-form webisodes will stream on Hulu five times a week for American audiences, with highlights available worldwide on YouTube. Contestants will be asked to draw upon their fans for support throughout the challenges: twenty-three fans will even win a trip for two to participate in the Road Rally Challenges. Six of these live challenge participants will win a 2012 Ford Focus.

Interested in getting started? Head on over to FocusRally.com and register to play. You can start collecting points by inviting friends to join, answering daily trivia questions, and participating in the Road Trip Challenge, a series of fifty online puzzles. Accumulate enough points, and you’ll level up and unlock new privileges and features on the site. Rack up more points than any other player? You’ll win a Ford Focus. An additional Ford Focus will be awarded to a registrant, selected at random. The Road Trip Challenge puzzles are relatively straightforward, requiring you to identify landmarks and cities based on clues like an image or driving directions, but subsequent tasks and challenges are bound to get more complex once the race starts.

For more information, follow the Focus Rally: America Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Correction, 01/27/2011: this article incorrectly stated that Ford would be giving away ten Ford Focuses, with eight going to random followers of the winning team. The contest is for eight Ford Focuses, with cars awarded to six of the twenty-three live event participants. The article was amended to reflect this information.