Car launches generally follow a familiar format: slick billboards, press ads and a TVC, all showing the car. As the world’s largest car manufacturer, Toyota is inevitably accused of being ‘middle of the road’ by competitor brands. The campaign to launch the new Toyota 86 rear wheel drive sports car as their flagship brand bucked this trend, positioning them as edgy, stylish and streetwise.
The target audience had pored over the many images, articles and product videos already available online showing off the 86. Using reverse psychology to generate excitement, the villains in the story – the Fun Police – hijacked the car and took it away! And what happens when you take something away? It just makes you all the more eager to get your hands on it.
Creating an online ‘code collection game’ turned the social media audience into a team of highly engaged advocates fighting to get the 86s back, with every move they made online acting as another ‘mini billboard’ on Facebook advertising the car. The inbuilt functionality of Facebook did a lot of the work, rather than having to create from scratch something that would be less effective and cost more.
Yes, it was risky, but the objective was to make the 86 stand out in a hotly-contested marketplace. With their hostage videos, taunting Facebook posts and general censorship, all focusing on the benefits of the 86, the Fun Police inadvertently became ideal salespeople for the car they hated.
Most importantly, all this activity led directly to the Holy Grail – sales! Targets were beaten and Toyota became cool amongst the key 18-24 influencers. In the automotive industry it is often easy to buy ‘Likes’ by offering a big giveaway prize that quickly drop off once the competition is over. In contrast, the 86 Facebook page has actually grown to over 10,000 Likes, proving the highly engaged, quality nature of the Likes achieved. These are invaluable as long-term leads.