Ford Returns to 2013 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans for Fifth Consecutive Year as Exclusive Automotive Brand

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DEARBORN, MI--July 5, 2013: 2013 marks Ford's fifth consecutive year as the exclusive automotive brand of the ESSENCE Festival that kicks off this weekend Ford will be involved with the festival in both an organic and hands-on way that enables consumers to experience and learn more about the company's newest products in a fun and meaningful atmosphere Ford will introduce the "Mr. Matchmaker" Game Show Experience this weekend as part of the 2013 Ford Fusion giveaway alongside actor and Ford partner Boris Kodjoe Additional Ford activities include initiatives tied to breast cancer awareness, a live one-hour stream of the Ford-branded Super Lounge, the Ford-sponsored "Steve Harvey Morning Show" broadcast and a consumer ride-and-drive experience

Ford will take part in the 2013 ESSENCE Festival for the fifth consecutive year as the exclusive automotive brand. The festival -- in its 19th year -- is a cultural celebration featuring a mix of bold names, exciting newcomers and cherished ESSENCE Festival favorites.

"The ESSENCE Festival occupies a special place in the hearts of African Americans and particularly African American women," said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford multicultural marketing. "This relationship continues to allow Ford to go further as a company when it comes to not only our products but also our communities.

"This connection will continue this weekend as we give festival-goers the opportunity to learn more about the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Ford Escape and 2013 Ford Focus, in addition to engaging consumers about the importance of early detection as it relates to breast cancer awareness," Thompson added.

As a proud and active partner of the festival, Ford has created a number of special opportunities for festival attendees, including the chance for one consumer to win the keys to a 2013 Ford Fusion as part of the "Mr. Matchmaker" Game Show Experience with actor and Ford partner Boris Kodjoe; an exclusive broadcast with "The Steve Harvey Morning Show"; celebrity autographs at the Ford booth inside the convention center throughout the weekend courtesy of Ford partner Sirius XM; and a chance for attendees to take a drive in some of the newest vehicles from Ford like the 2013 Ford Escape, 2013 Ford Focus ST, 2013 Fusion and 2014 Ford Fiesta

In addition to these vehicle engagement experiences, Ford will give attendees the chance to win some cool prizes at the Ford booth and potentially secure autographs as part of the brand's continued partnership with Sirius XM. Sirius XM will conduct live interviews from the Ford booth with artists including Shaunie O'Neal, Kym Whitley, Anthony David, Chrisette Michele and Charlie Wilson throughout the weekend.

'Pink Friday' -- Ford booth goes pink, brand aims to raise awareness of breast cancer

Today, for the second year in a row, the brand is activating what it calls "Pink Friday" in an effort to raise awareness around breast cancer and the importance of early detection. Ford Warriors in Pink is donating $50 for each of the first 200 test drives to the Young Survival Coalition to help directly improve the lives of thousands of young breast cancer survivors.

2013 marks Ford's 19th year of support in the fight against breast cancer. To date, Ford has donated more than $115 million to the cause. The Ford Warriors in Pink line of apparel and accessories is available exclusively on

"Ford has a lot planned for this year's festival, and we are excited for all the weekend has to offer," said Thompson. "We hope attendees walk away with not only a greater awareness of our newest products, but also of our continued commitment to the empowerment of African American culture."

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