Toyota's mid-gear in a summer-long goodwill marketing effort, giving a car to a nonprofit everyday for 100 consecutive days. Running through Aug. 16, the "100 Cars For Good" initiative is centralized on Toyota's Facebook page, where viewers vote on which of five charities gets that day's donated vehicle. People do not have to "like" the brand before tallying a vote.
"We wanted to engage and get people to participate with social media," Toyota spokesperson Tracy Underwood told ClickZ News. "So from there, we said, 'We need help [from consumers] because we are used to solely interacting with these nonprofit groups.' This campaign is where we want a lot more participation."
Today, for example, viewers can vote on the following nonprofits: mental illness organizations Wellspring (Louisville, KY) and Triple R Behavioral Health (Phoenix); seniors healthcare provider Keiro Services (Los Angeles); children's issues org AnyBaby Can (Austin, TX); and the hospital St. Mary's Medical Center (Evansville, IN).
Facebook ads and display ads around the Internet have appeared to push the campaign. Toyota also worked directly with the Palo Alto, CA-based social site, providing the causes with pro bono Facebook credits to be used for advertising their organizations.
"Some of them had no experience in social media," Underwood said. "Now, they are getting ['likes'] themselves. It's been a nice byproduct to the overall effort."
Toyota is the latest brand to take a cue from Pepsi's Refresh Everything campaign. For the last two years, Pepsi has focused on goodwill-social marketing - over mass advertising - while donating funds to local nonprofits across the U.S.
However, according to Beverage Digest, the soda brand in recent months has fallen to third behind Coke and Diet Coke in store sales after spending decades in the No. 2 slot. The Purchase, NY-based Pepsi has since made changes to its marketing leadership, though there have been no ramifications yet on the Refresh Everything or social media fronts.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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