Toyota’s Playful Strategy Scores with Sports Fans
After signing on as one of the first major sponsors of the Dew Action Sports Tour’s inaugural season, Toyota stepped up with an activation plan that maxed out its on-site presence, tied in the brand’s “Moving forward” tagline, and made the vehicles relevant to the skateboard, cycling and motocross fans who filled the venues.
The Toyota Zone featured a 50-foot-by-60-foot immersion that included a raised observation deck where fans could get a view of the entire venue, and the T-Session, where fans and BMX pros alike practiced their skills on a modified bike and a trampoline. “That was a ‘Moving forward’ experience, trying to help out the athletes,” says Jennifer Gilbert, integration director at Torrance, CA-based Maritz Interactions. “Pros would come and practice on their off time, so we drew crowds just by having them there.”
There also was an off-road test-drive opportunity, and the Mudslinger exhibit, which gave fans a chance to sit inside a stationary Tacoma pickup and step on the gas so that the rear wheels splashed water on the onlookers behind them. “It shows we’re a playful company, not just a big company with a lot of money,” says Jim Farley, Toyota Motor Sales USA’s vp-marketing. “We understand how important it is to deliver a surprise, so they think of Toyota differently than when they came to the event.”
Plus, kiosks throughout the Dew Tour venues encouraged fans to sign up for flash mobs; participants got text messages from Toyota with times and locations for autograph sessions and other special events. And the company kept the conversation with fans going post-event, driving them to a Tour-specific web site for a chance to win a customized Tacoma.
Toyota blasted through its goal of connecting one-on-one with 160,000 fans by 45 percent. And of the one million consumers who engaged in data collect, 81 percent were brand new conquest customers and 27 percent opted in for future communications.