Toyota wants to lure the sneaker head faction by turning its new 2012 Yaris into an avatar available for download on Xbox Live. The avatar is part of a larger promotional campaign that includes a Microsoft-exclusive miniseries called "Your Dungeon My Dragon," written and directed by comedian Adam de la Pena.
Your Dungeon My Dragon is also available on the web and mobile devices. Within the miniseries are two games developed in HTML5 that help unlock the Yaris avatar. After they download the avatar, players can use it with their own avatars on Xbox Live, within games, on their Windows phones, or on Xbox.com.
This group just wants a basic, affordable car to get them around, so they can save their money for gadgets, toys and their Xbox Live subscriptions, he said. Saatchi LA identified this segment for Toyota using its proprietary consumer context research methodology.
Paid media supporting the series and driving traffic to Your Dungeon My Dragon includes banners and video banners on Xbox Live, mobile devices and MSN.com, along with an editorial push on MSN.com, Atkinson said. MSN tied the Yaris and Your Dungeon My Dragon into relevant editorial content, as well as including links of recommended stories below an article.
De la Pena presented the miniseries to his own social media following, while Toyota's Facebook page also features Your Dungeon My Dragon. Microsoft created a leaderboard to encourage game players to compete and share the game with friends.
Toyota already had a relationship with the Microsoft's ad sales organization for Xbox Live after launching its 2011 Prius on the network. The new campaign, which also features games and editorial placements on MSN, was the result of collaboration between De la Pena, Microsoft and Saatchi LA, according to Atkinson.
Microsoft built the HTML5 versions of the game, leading the overall design and video production. Meanwhile De la Pena's production company, Monkey Wrangler Productions, handled the animation and production of the show.
The Xbox Live launch is a key piece to a larger launch strategy, Atkinson says.
The main Yaris site, Toyota.com/itsacar, works like a TV channel showcasing videos with comedian and brand spokesman Michael Showalter. Saatchi LA and Toyota also are working with Marvel Comics to integrate the Yaris into its "What The --?!" video series, which appears on Marvel.com, its YouTube channel and within the Marvel app.
Saatchi worked with Gizmodo.com to create an "unboxing" video for the Yaris. These consumer-created videos feature someone unpacking a high-tech toy. So the agency sent a Yaris in a box to the gadget blog and videoed an editor unboxing it.
In a deal with I Can Has Cheezburger?, the funny photo site did some meme contests and created a section called yar.is where pix of cats and dogs in cars sport the "Yaris it's a car!" tagline.
Atkinson says it's too early to gauge results of the multi-channel campaign, but the agency plans to do brand awareness studies to measure increases in favorability, purchase intent and awareness of the new Yaris, as well as traffic to Toyota.com/itsacar.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014