Cannes Lions

MEALS PER HOUR

360i, New York / TOYOTA / 2014

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Overview

Description

Historically, Toyota has been deeply involved in philanthropic initiatives, but its contributions were going unnoticed outside of the communities they directly impacted. Toyota wanted to do good – and at the same time raise awareness of its commitment to donating engineering know-how and remind people that the brand is about more than just selling cars.

In 2013, during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Toyota was once again ready to use its engineering philosophy as a vehicle for positive change. Engineers from the Toyota team were sent to the Rockaways – one of New York’s hardest hit regions following Sandy – to optimize distribution operations at a key food bank. The project was called “Meals Per Hour.”

“Meals Per Hour” chronicled the transformation of the food bank’s distribution process over three months. Digital PR was at the core of the effort. We spread the world in grassroots fashion by inviting local bloggers to roll up their sleeves and help the team on the ground, and then chronicle their experiences on MealsPerHour.com. To share Toyota’s knowledge with more people, we enlisted influential filmmakers to create a documentary that would tell the story in an honest and compelling way. The video was published on YouTube with the promise to donate one meal for every view.

The film immediately resonated with people from all over the world. The earned media impact was so big and so immediate that Toyota cut their media budget and reallocated the money to donating more meals, totaling 1 million.

Execution

For the three month effort, Toyota sent members of the Toyota Production System team to assist a key food distribution center in the Rockaways by creating small changes over time to drastically improve efficiency, so that the volunteers could provide more meals to more families, faster.

“Meals Per Hour” brought to life the magic of Toyota’s approach to engineering and chronicled the transformation of the food distribution process over several months.

We invited local influencers to roll up their sleeves and help the team on the ground and then asked them to share their experiences on MealsPerHour.com. To share the knowledge with the world, we enlisted Supermarché, the directors behind “Catfish,” to create a documentary that would tell the story in an honest and compelling way. The video was published on YouTube with the promise to donate one meal for every view.

Outcome

Within 48 hours the documentary became a viral hit, amassing 100 million earned media impressions (including a CNN feature story) and receiving an organic placement on the YouTube homepage for two straight days.

Reddit users – known for their cynicism when it comes to corporations – voted the documentary as the site’s No. 1 video. Early PR success enabled Toyota to slash its media budget and reinvest the money to donating even more meals, totaling 1 million.

The campaign helped create a positive shift in perception around Toyota as a company that is making a difference in communities. Social media conversations about Meals Per Hour were 67% positive, proving that it overcame the “cause-washing” perception that many brands face when engaging in philanthropic efforts. More than an automaker that produces great cars, the campaign helped Toyota gain recognition as a company that believes when good ideas are shared, great things can happen.

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