Toyota has been busy this year. It’s launched a host of cars, including
the Prius, Prius c, Prius V, Camry, Aurion, Lexus GS, Lexus RX and new
Corolla Wagon. And the 86 has also taken to the streets, but not before
receiving some attention from the Fun Police, a campaign developed by AIM
Proximity Wellington to launch its sportscar.
Proximity creative director Brett Hoskin said the brief sought to reposition
the Toyota brand as being less mainstream.
“We wanted to demonstrate
with the brand that Toyota is prepared to have a bit of fun and a bit of a
laugh at itself. It’s not necessarily out of character for Toyota but it was
He says sports car
advertising ordinarily features a shot of a car driving with music to it, but
in this case the aim was to “mess it up a bit”.
“Toyota wants to reposition itself
as a brand that’s producing fun cars and is more engaged with its audience. It
was pretty much about delivering to that brief. It was really important for us
to have fun with our audience and the campaign, and not to take ourselves too
seriously, which is exactly what the car is about.”
While Toyota has adapted
better than most to the financial crisis for the past few years, both its chief
executive Akio Toyoda
(no, that’s not a typo) and senior vice president Bob Carter have acknowledged it can no longer
rest on its laurels. Which is one reason the previously more subdued Toyoda can
now often be found dressed to the nines in racing suits and making numerous
public appearances on racetracks. The company last year launched its fight back
plan, with Toyoda proclaiming, “If it’s not fun to drive, it’s not a car”,
and also unveiling the company’s new tag lines: : “Reborn” and “Fun to Drive, again.”
anticipation behind the launch of the 86 might have been beneficial from a PR
point of view, but it proved challenging when developing a Kiwi campaign for
“There’s been a huge amount of motoring press about it
around the world and we were in a position where there was nothing new we could
say about the car,” says Hoskin. “We couldn’t hold back shots of the car and we
couldn’t tease information about the car because there’s been a global frenzy
about the car for the last five years, with concept cars and various things
The sheer amount of global
press about the car, says Toyota New Zealand general manager of marketing,
Neeraj Lala, meant a New Zealand-centric approach to the launch was critical.
“We needed to bring the
conversation to Kiwi customers and we wanted to do that by building a passionate
community of cult followers. The 86 brand is also a halo to attracting fun back
to the Toyota brand and so we knew the campaign needed to generate some fun.”
With anticipation of the
86’s arrival onto New Zealand shores rife, Hoskin says the team struck upon the
idea of creating a campaign where the cars were hijacked upon arrival into New
Zealand, and enlisting the help of the public to find them.
“With everyone waiting for it, we thought, ‘why don’t
we nick them all and have some fun with it? The whole idea of Fun Police came
out of that. Toyota normally does a whole lot of product demonstration in
showrooms and on TVNZ. We thought we could do the same thing by creating a fake
organisation that does that promoting of the car for us.”
Videos of the Fun Police driving and scrutinising
the seized 86s’ were uploaded to YouTube and a Fun Police Facebook page was
created. A week before the Fun Police were introduced into the campaign, 18
billboards advertising the 86 were erected and, when the Fun Police entered the
vista, each billboard was slapped with a censorship sticker featuring a unique
code. Punters were then able to enter the code online for a chance to win an 86
car for 86 days. Codes were also left every time the Fun Police posted
something on their Facebook page. A Facebook page dedicated to the 86 in New
Zealand also fed into the competition.
“It was essentially a crack
the code and win promotion, but all done around the guise of the Fun Police
destroying the cars,” says Hoskin. “In a way it’s similar to Batman and the
Joker, where the arch nemeses likes to leave riddles and clues, but in this
case it was the Fun Police leaving the clues.”
went as far as to scale billboards on their hunt for the codes, and various websites
were set up dedicated to sharing and finding the codes.
“It’s amazing how many
people get off on that kind of thing,” comments Hoskin.
chuffed with the results of the campaign. He says over 275,000 competition
entries were received over the space of 15 days and at last count, he says 80
percent of cars on the ground have sold out and there’s a waitlist.
Toyota 86 Facebook page now has just under 10,000 fans that Hoskin says are now
“pretty ardent Toyota sports car
fans…a community that Toyota can now market to, talk to and build over time”.