Clever product placement is nothing new. American Idol fans can no doubt recall that Ford has been a primary sponsor of the show since its inception in 2002. The show even includes a special Ford music video with each new episode in the final weeks.  With Idol currently in the offseason, Ford is once again turning to another popular genre, this time one with a little bit of bite. The genre? Vampires.

Ford has taken to Facebook and other social media sites to tout the upcoming appearance of the 2011 Fiesta in the CW program Vampire Diaries. The car is scheduled to be featured on an episode sometime in October. This program will give the Fiesta a great amount of exposure to the younger age market.

Any consumer should be used to automobile advertising nowadays. In Frankfort, Ford truck ads can be seen everywhere from local billboards to the television at the nearby pub. And in Lawrenceburg, Ford F150 drivers may be familiar with the “It’s not just a pickup truck. It’s a Ford” tagline from a recent campaign. But more recently, marketers are noticing that traditional methods of advertising are increasingly being ignored by the younger generations. These are the generations of shortened attention spans, Twitter, and text messaging. Ford is trying to step outside the realm of traditional advertising by using these exact forms of social media to their advantage.

Back in the day, if you lived in Frankfort, Ford truck ads were primarily on billboards or television commercials. Today, prospective buyers may be targeted in more personal ways, such as Facebook messages and message board posts. The company is looking to engage viewers in positive dialogue, as opposed to just featuring a one-way line of communication.

All throughout Lawrenceburg, Ford F150 fans are already well aware of the brand. However, younger buyers with limited interest in traditional media may find themselves seeing Ford advertisements on websites, streaming video sites, or even the aforementioned product placement on popular TV shows. Companies that do not leverage social media effectively risk falling behind those that do.

So for me, I’m certainly no fan of these vampire shows. But my daughter is. And although she’s not buying a car just quite yet, product placement such as the Fiesta’s inclusion in Vampire Diaries may get her liking the quirky little car, which in turn could lead to a sale a few years down the road.