Toyota Creates Eco-friendly Exhibit at Detroit Auto Show
Toyota has long been considered one of the auto industry’s eco-conscious forerunners, but despite its spot at the top, the race for mindshare in the hybrid market is just beginning. To keep itself top of mind as the green movement continues accelerating, in 2008 the automaker scrapped its auto show kit and created a brand new exhibit for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The result was a 29,000-square-foot booth that was not only sustainable from top to bottom but delivered an interactive attendee experience that brought Toyota’s eco commitment message to life.
Behind the scenes the booth boasted a long list of earth-friendly materials and structures. The carpet used low chemical backing adhesives and was slated to be repurposed after the show. Toyota also turned to bamboo and recycled tires for flooring instead of wood or other materials that create a heavier impact on the environment. The booth’s fabric panels were made out of post-consumer materials and used only non-toxic inks. The structure’s walls were made of recyclable steel, 52-percent recycled content aluminum frames and were painted with low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. Toyota embossed its green booth elements with bamboo plaques that indicated which eco materials were used.
Near the center of the footprint, Toyota told its environmental story through three audience engagement areas that looked like a space-aged set for “Wheel of Fortune.” When a consumer sat down in the center, four HD screens came to life and prompted him or her to turn the seat to face one of the four screens to launch a short video. The videos featured stories about Toyota’s green history, alternative fuels and hybrid engines.
At a nearby stage called “Talk show: Toyota Live!” attendees could sit down and relax, play Toyota trivia, watch demos and get a tour of the booth—a nice departure from typical live auto show reveals, which are usually one-time deals. At vintage-style fuel pumps, guests could tap a touchscreen to check out various types of alternative fuels.
“Toyota has enjoyed and will continue to enjoy a kind of mantle of environmental leadership with not only our vehicles but as well as the way we do business. So to us it was natural to help reinforce that,” says Keith Dahl, National Manager of Event Marketing at Toyota. “We thought it was very consistent to engage the consumers on site with these kinds of high-tech or imaginative opportunities to learn about our hybrid system, the car itself and our history.”
At the Detroit event, the booth generated savings equivalent to 222 barrels of oil and 33 tons of waste. Toyota also created its own offset program, purchasing solar water heaters for 100 homes in New Orleans.