SAATCHI & SAATCHI LA, Los Angeles / TOYOTA / 2012

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With Internet access now ubiquitous in the US, and further audience fragmentation due to smartphones, DVRs and social media, brands are looking beyond the traditional TV spot, banner ad or search campaign to connect with consumers. This challenge becomes even more acute when targeting a younger, digital audience that finds their content via social media, YouTube, video games and other non-traditional media.Branded Content - which can be more than just entertainment, it can also educate, enlighten and provide utility - provides a platform for brands on which to communicate and provide value with their consumers. Even when the brand or product is not integrated directly into the experience or content, the tone, attributes and messaging of the brand are woven into the experience so that every piece of content consumed provides branding.For these digital audiences, branded experiences provide them with authentic content that makes them laugh, teaches them or inspires them. These experiences also give audiences stories and content to post about in their social media circles, the water-cooler of the 21st century, generating earned media for the brand. Brands also benefit by being able to host this content on their own digital properties.


Toyota wanted to increase awareness, opinion and consideration for the Yaris and at the same time, establish a strong brand image of value, safety and versatility. Their challenge? The Yaris target audience doesn’t care about fancy rims or super spoilers. They want a car that gets them from point A to B, with a payment that’s less than their Xbox allowance. The target audience of also does everything digital. Traditional media doesn’t reach them. They get their content from DVRs, online videos, web comics and video games.

Their solution? Turn the Yaris into a 16-bit character within a comedy series created like a video game, just as they played in their youth. Toyota partnered with Xbox and Adam de la Pena (creator of Code Monkeys) to sponsor’ Your Dungeon My Dragon’ on Xbox, Web and Mobile. The show was created in the same visual style as the video games the audience grew up playing. A 16-bit Yaris was seamlessly integrated into 2 of the 5 episodes and played a starring role in 1 of the 2 original mini-games.New episodes and games were released over the course of 3 months, unlocking new ‘worlds’ for players within the map of ‘Lower Earth’. Passionate fans on Facebook followed the experience, begging for episodes to be released and sharing their favourite lines from the show.Fans showed their support of the Yaris and the show by downloading the first advertiser sponsored custom Avatar prop. The original mini-games let audiences play as the cast members, further immersing them in the experience. Players compared their scores on the first Xbox Live Branded Destination Experience, to web and mobile leaderboard that tied together the 3 channels.


To reach this digital consumer, editorial headlines on the enticed the target audience to click to watch the episodes, learn about the cast members and see behind the scenes footage. On Xbox Live, audiences could view a teaser video within the ad unit before clicking to explore the full experience. Other media on Xbox Live promoted the industry first advertiser sponsored Avatar prop as well as free downloads. Consumers were also drawn to the experience via word-of-mouth from the shows’ Facebook and YouTube fan pages, via tweets from cast members, Xbox on Facebook and from the Toyota Yaris websites.


Nearly 900,000 visitors to the web and mobile sites, and over 500,000 visitors on Xbox, streamed almost 2m videos, and played the mini-games over 319,000 times. Audiences organically discovered the 1bit, 8bit, 16bit and 128bit versions of the Yaris over 50,000 times and engaged with the Gallery over 100,000 times.All this engagement with the Brand led to huge lifts in key metrics, including a 247% point lift for rating the Yaris ‘Fun to Drive’. Consumers who recalled the campaign were 58% more likely to consider the Yaris vs an average industry lift on Xbox Live of 18%. When consumers recalled 2 or more of the platforms (Xbox, Web or Mobile), there was a 195% point lift in considering the Yaris.

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