Toyota Australia has taken an unusual move in developing a social media approach for the market here, briefing five agencies and challenging them to make something work for a mere A$15,000
The first few campaigns have broken, and pickings are slim.
- One Green Bean have put an American Werewolf in a Yaris, enabling all the twitterverse to get a cheap ride around Sydney, should the stars align and this one cab wolf be able to oblige. Passengers are snapped with Wolfy and uploaded, as well as be encouraged to live tweet the lift to their network.
- Hothouse have lifted one of the old internet meme standby’s, making a lego film about a prison break, with a real life yaris being driven by some massively out of scale lego men. They’re asking for comments on why yaris is so clever on the YouTube host platform and giving away a car at the end of it.
- The Population are playing on the car’s role as the ultimate city car and leveraging Sydney Melbourne rivalries to drive a facebook page war between the two cities, asking existing fans to recruit new ones, add comments and building a (maybe) useful permission asset along the way.
- Saatchi & Saatchi have made no real effort at all, asking users to create an ad, offering up 7k as a first prize. Perhaps spending some of the cash on the design of the page would have made this more appealing and they might have an amazing strategy to leverage the content that they’ll get (or maybe create in-house)
- Iris seem to be waiting, perhaps to take advantage of the noise around these campaigns.
The social media echo box is awash with negative comments and admonishments for Toyota for perpetrating such an injustice on the public of Australia, Laurel Papworth has a lengthy post covering a lots of the errors but I think she goes too far with the comment “social media is NOT an experiment”
Back when we were still living in a world where TV always delivered sales, this type of open pitch would have been impossible. Production of TVC’s completely preclude it. It also would have been visible to a very high percentage of the market, making confusion and ridicule very likely.
The digital environment turns that logic on it’s head. Cost per action advertising has led to a situation where multi variate testing is not just common, it’s necessary. Starting with a broad, somewhat unfocused approach and then increasing investment once a channel or message has proved engaging is very much a best practice approach.
I’m not naive enough to believe that social media campaigns are the same as web based ad serving, but the cost of building for these platforms is much lower than for TV and apart from a few highly interested and talkative “new media” experts, I’d suggest that badly thought out, usury ideas don’t offend, they simply don’t cut through and die out, unnoticed and ignored.
Using a ready, fire, aim approach can be very successful in learning about the social media environment and how consumers see your brand, it’s voice and it’s place in their live’s. The real danger in adopting this type of approach doesn’t lie in the quality of the ideas but in not backing what works.
Mumbrella has an excellent post, with links to all the campaigns if you want to go see.
In terms of adding something useful to the analysis of the campaigns, here’s what I like about them, and a little of what i’d change:
Wolfy works because it’s actually getting people to experience a ride in a Yaris, which if you’re not interested in a big powerful car, is actually pretty cool. Pity that they couldn’t have a fleet of cars;
Lego escape, i love the death star campaign clip I linked above but I worry that this one doesn’t really encourage people to share with others and really grow a base;
The S&S film comp is a tired idea, executed in a tied style, if there is a special needs school for social media they should consider taking some remedial classes;
Ultimate city taps into pride and gives people a chance to be a part of a winning group, but maybe it would have been good to let the banter between the two groups live somewhere too, or maybe it would have gotten hideously out of control. Also in choosing facebook they’ve opened themselves up to a much larger pool of consumers. 6 mill+ as opposed to a couple of hundred thousand active on Twitter.
Iris, we’ll just have to wait and see. The common logic would have said that in a window of 6 weeks, you’d want as much time as possible for things to spiral.