Toyota has signed on as the exclusive launch partner for the relaunch of Weather.com. The automaker will use the sponsorship as part of a campaign highlighting the 10th anniversary of its ground-breaking Prius hybrid.
Kim Kyaw, interactive media and strategy manager for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said Weather.com's eco- and tech- friendly demographic is perfect for the Prius anniversary campaign. The program, which actually began Toyota's sponsorship 10 days leading up to today's formal Weather.com relaunch, will run through the end of July.
Weather.com is one of the digital properties of The Weather Channel and executives there said the redesign of the now 15-year-old site offers not only a more modern look but also a more customizable weather experience for users.
Among the features Toyota will be taking advantage of is Weather.com's ADaptor format, which enables brands to customize messages to consumers depending on location and time.
"It's geo-based but it's also real-time using weather and location, and the program is related to the custom Random Acts of Prius apps on the Prius Facebook page," Kyaw explained. "The app that you'll see will depend on the weather in your city, so if it's sunny and you're in southern California you may [be served creative] that talks about going on a picnic. The apps won't be just about the vehicle but about everyday lives."
Both the creative and media buy was done by Saatchi & Saatchi. Among the executions is an out-of-banner format created specifically for Toyota. "It includes a [countdown] for the 10 years of the Prius that leads right into the launch of the redesigned Weather.com," Kyaw said, noting the ads will not contain specific offers or calls to action. "This is general awareness about the 10th anniversary of Prius and it's tied to people looking to lead eco- and tech-friendly lives. There will be additional messages on Facebook and Twitter as well."
Toyota will also have a strong presence on TWC's mobile website and on The Weather Channel application for iPad. While this campaign ends in a few weeks, Kyaw suggested Toyota will continue to advertise on Weather.com, adding, "We actually run media with them all year round."
The site redesign is based on consumer research and includes new features such as a more intuitive and weather-centric navigation and up to three saved locations visible from all weather.com pages. It provides more pinpointed local weather, and a variety of applications that will allow users to customize Weather.com based on their lifestyles and favorite activities.
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David Ward is a veteran freelance journalist based in San Diego, who currently focuses on online marketing, digital entertainment and the growth on new consumer technologies such as 3D in the home.
March 19, 2014