VML and MINDDRIVE power car on cross-country trip with social fuel

23 May, 2013


VML

Middle and high school students convert a 1967 Karmann Ghia to an electric vehicle; embark on trip from Kansas City to Washington D.C. fueled by social media

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — VML today announced the launch of a new social initiative with educational nonprofit, MINDDRIVE, called the Social Fuel Tour. The students, mentors and founders of MINDDRIVE will embark on a road trip from Kansas City to Washington, D.C., from May 31 to June 7 in a 1967 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that the group has converted to an electric vehicle.

MINDDRIVE is a nonprofit educational program that aims to teach STEM principles through hands-on learning techniques with projects that inspire the next generation to solve modern issues of our time. The most recent project the students have worked on is the Karmann Ghia that will be powered by social fuel.

VML programmed an Arduino device to monitor and capture activity on the social media channels of MINDDRIVE and its supporters converts the activity into watts. The Arduino device triggers the motor to engage or not engage depending on the level of social fuel.

Social fuel is created in several ways: follows on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as like, shares, comments and YouTube video views. For Twitter and Instagram, supporters must use #minddrive and/or tag @minddriveorg.

In addition to its own social channels, MINDDRIVE will leverage the social networks of the program’s core sponsors such as Bridgestone, Sonic, Hertz and Kansas City Power & Light to earn social fuel.

Social engagement will be monitored by VML’s proprietary social listening platform, SEER.

“The Social Fuel Tour highlights how nonprofits can utilize multiple platforms to raise awareness and gain support in a digital environment; it's really an innovative way to approach social media engagement. We’re a proud partner and supporter of the MINDDRIVE program,” said Jon Cook, CEO and president, VML.

The Social Fuel Tour stops in several cities, including Springfield, Ill., Indianapolis, Ind., Akron, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Washington, D.C. Twenty students will participate in the tour, and there will be stops at technology centers, college campuses and at environmental projects such as a wind farm. The students will present the MINDDRIVE programs at many of the locations, which helps further develop their public communication skills

“The mentors and instructors of MINDDRIVE offer the students an additional voice and role model in their lives. The program gives all of the students a foundation of confidence and an expanded vision of their future that allows them to have a sustainable life,” said Steve Rees, CEO of MINDDRIVE. “But through VML, we’re able to take that conversation outside of the classroom to a much greater audience across multiple platforms in a way we haven’t been able to before. ”

The tour ends in the nation’s capital with a press conference on Capitol Hill and a briefing hosted by Missouri’s 5th Congressional District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver. Attendees include the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the STEM Coalition, among others, including their colleagues serving in the House.

VML brought the Social Fuel Tour idea to MINDDRIVE earlier this year; the partnership includes a redesign of minddrive.org, mobile application development, the social strategy, communications plans, and video, social and photo content for the tour. From a technology perspective, VML programmed an Arduino device to engage or disengage the motor depending on the level of social fuel and used a 3-D printer to create special casing for the Arduino device.

For more information on the history of MINDDRIVE, the Social Fuel Tour or experiential learning, visit: http://minddrive.org/connect/social-fuel-tour-2013/.  


ABOUT VML
VML is a marketing agency with major operations on five continents. Since its founding in 1992, VML has been dedicated to delivering creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology.

VML engineers best-in-class digital experiences for some of the most respected and recognized brands in the world, including SAB Miller brands Coors and Coors Light, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, English Premier League, Gatorade, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Kashi, Kellogg, Microsoft, SAP, Southwest Airlines, T-Mobile, U.S Bank, Wendy’s, Western Union and Xerox.

With a successful track record in digital marketing, VML was named a “Standout Shop” in Ad Age’s annual A-List issue in 2012. Additionally, VML was recognized as a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave™: U.S. Digital Agencies — Mobile Marketing Strategy and Execution, Q1 2012.

VML has principal offices in Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Sao Paulo, London, Milan, Sydney, Singapore, Mumbai, and Jakarta. VML has been a member of the WPP Group of global communication agencies since 2001. Learn more at www.vml.com.


ABOUT MINDDRIVE
MINDDRIVE’S mission is to inspire students to learn, expand their vision of the future, and to have a positive impact on urban workforce development. The program is funded through the national sponsorships of Bridgestone, Hertz Corporation, SONIC, America's Drive-In, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and KCP&L as well as through local foundations and individual contributors.

MINDDRIVE serves 30 students from the urban core of Kansas City, currently working with five area schools; there are 21 students participating in Automotive Design Studio and nine enrolled in Contemporary Communications. The students choose their course and also are given the freedom to align with the particular aspect of the project that gets them the most excited. Mentors play a significant role in finding what that spark is for each student, then figuring out a way to inspire them in that direction.

ABOUT SEER
The VML SEER™ Platform is a social integration tool that enables brands to listen to, engage with, and leverage social interactions to support their business objectives. SEER offers a suite of capabilities including Social CRM, analytics, and influencer identification that enable brands to engage with consumers in the most meaningful ways.

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