Cannes Lions

Toyota-Crown / NY Times-Wordle Partnership

SAATCHI & SAATCHI, Los Angeles / TOYOTA / 2024

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Toyota set off to launch the Toyota Crown and were foraying into a new audience of Toyota purchasers. This was Toyota's most elevated model, a premium vehicle, and the target was an affluent, highly-educated demographic. These people are especially media-savvy, notorious for avoiding ads. So in order to target them, we needed to be highly strategic. We reached them by targeting a platform where they already are: Wordle. Furthermore, we got our audience to commit the product to memory by actively writing it down.


We found that our target demographic is specifically avoidant of ads, and 70% have ad-blockers. However, they over-indexed on puzzles, and specifically, Wordle. So we decided that instead of trying to get them to pay attention to us, it would be smarter to target them where they already are, in an actively they do every day. For the first time ever, users were given a second Wordle of the day.


To understand who our target should be, we relied on qualitative and quantitative research from primary and third party sources. We arrived at our target – a group of growth- and goal-oriented people – after testing different targets during focus groups; identifying those with shared traits, including a passion for our vehicle. We then did further research to understand their media motivations and habits, where we learned they are really plugged into tech and love all media that helps them learn and grow. Wordle was at the height of its popularity at this time and seemed like a perfect fit – especially because our vehicle had a 5-letter name. We didn’t want to disrupt the Wordle game, but rather integrated seamlessly into an experience our target already knows and loves. The interaction helped them gain familiarity with this brand new nameplate and encouraged them to learn more about the vehicle.


In order to gain name recognition for Toyota’s new name plate, Crown, we wanted to do something no other brand had done before. We partnered with New York Time’s 5-letter word game that was blowing up social media—Wordle. The execution took the form of a custom, interactive display banner on the daily Wordle puzzle page, where users could play a bonus round of the word puzzle, with the 5-letter answer being C-R-O-W-N. We capitalized on the popularity of this cultural fad, and organically tapped into the fandom of this trend that had a natural engagement component. In addition to the custom puzzle execution, we also had video and display assets run within NYT’s website to further drive awareness, as well as conversion to the Crown landing page on


On launch day, people were introduced to the Crown, through the gaming trend they all knew and loved. In a bonus game, C-R-O-W-N was the word of the day. 97% of the players got it right, and so did we.

The results:

Above benchmarked on KPIs (+4.5x)

14+MM Impressions

Over 24,500 Interactions

3,300+ starts

94 seconds of time in view

63% Completion rate

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