Ford’s Mercury Hypes Hybrid Through Gameplay

Ford’s Mercury brand has launched an education-oriented online game, hoping to show that gas guzzling and SUV are no longer synonymous.

The load screen “Mercury Mariner MyDrive Game” highlights each hybrid feature on the car and how it aids drivers. The game itself aims to train drivers to take advantage of gas saving features in the eco-friendly SUV.

Game players win points for “driving” the Mariner Hybrid through a variety of ordinary situations, such as dropping a letter off at the post office or taking a child to school. “Tips” for play tell users they should engage in behavior — driving at consistent speeds and decelerating smoothly, for example — that would get them better gas mileage if they were actually operating the vehicle. Between game levels and during game play, the company highlights characteristics of the hybrid technology. When the user accelerates after a stop sign, for example, the game indicates when the vehicle would be running on electric power, and when it would be using gasoline.

In conjunction with its online activities, the carmaker will also host a series of experiential marketing efforts called Ford Hybrid Experience events. The series of fuel economy clinics will take place in major markets with the first one in Dearborn, Mich. in October. Events will be held for existing owners of Ford hybrid vehicles and prospective buyers.

Marketing for the Mariner got a lift in July when the Sierra Club gave the hybrid SUV recognition for its eco-conscious performance.

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