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Toyota builds on Super Bowl TV ad with game-based iAd

Toyota has launched an interactive iAd campaign that incorporates several unique built-in features of a mobile device for a bigger marketing push around the mid-size Highlander SUV.

The automaker?s new mobile advertising campaign builds on the brand?s Super Bowl XLVIII ad and ties in a mobile game, video and calls-to-action to drives traffic to a mobile site. Instead of solely aiming to drive foot traffic, the ad is more focused on building up engagement.

?The iAd unit offers a breadth of targeting capabilities, including the ability to reach the 2014 Toyota Highlander target demographic and lifestyle interests, daypart and language preference,? said Lisa McQueen, national media planner at Toyota, Torrance, CA.

?With iAd app usage up 10 percent on Super Bowl Sunday over February 2013, the campaign gave us the opportunity to own a significant share of voice across Apple?s iAd network on game day,? she said. ?This aligned with our overall Super Bowl objectives to generate awareness for the all-new Highlander, both quickly and at scale."

Mobile test drive
The ad is an extension of the ?Joyride? campaign that debuted during the Super Bowl on Sunday that ties in with the upcoming Disney film ?Muppets Most Watched.?

The premise of the minute-long Super Bowl commercial is that the whole Muppets crew and their belongings fit into a Highlander SUV.

Animated pieces of copy on the banner ad scrolls over to read, ?Room for your stuff. No room for boring. Play Highlander?s cargo carnival.?

When consumers click on the banner ad, they are directed to a landing page featuring an image of the Highlander and Muppets.

The ad incorporates a three-level mobile game that mixes together the characters from the film and the automaker?s products.

For example, one game called cargo cannon challenges players to load a Highlander with as many Muppets as possible by shooting characters out of a cannon.

Once consumers play all three levels, a landing page shows their total score next to two buttons to either replay the game or build a vehicle.

A click-through on the ?Build yours? button leads consumers to the Highlander landing page on Toyota?s mobile site. The landing page details all of the car?s features and breaks down all of the differences in the car models.

The ad also pulls in videos and pictures from the Muppets campaign, including the full 60-second TV spot that ran during the Super Bowl.

Toyota?s campaign takes advantage of the fact that more digital video viewing is taking place on smartphones and tablets after the big game.

The increase in digital video viewing in the past few years is a significant opportunity for brands to repurpose big-budget TV spots into creative Web and mobile campaigns. 

Additionally, the carmaker?s campaign is unique in that it bets on a mobile game to eventually drive foot traffic to dealerships instead of relying on another type of lead-generation tool.

Pushing the limits of mobile advertising
Toyota has rolled out several unique mobile advertising campaigns in the past couple of years for a number of its vehicles.

Most recently, the brand launched a voice-activated mobile ad to promote its compact Corolla car (see story). 

Additionally, Toyota ran a campaign for the Corolla last fall with NFC and Shazam call-to-actions (see story). 

?The goal of this campaign is not to drive everyone into Toyota car dealerships,? said Shuli Lowy, New York-based marketing director at Ping Mobile.

Ms. Lowy is not affiliated with Toyota. She spoke based on her expertise on the subject.

?The goal of the campaign is to position Toyota as a fun-induced brand and provide a positive brand engagement,? she said. ?For those that are considering purchasing a car at present moment, that engagement will hopefully turn into further research on models and a visit to the auto dealership.

?If the success of this campaign were to be measured only by the number of immediate visits to the car dealership it generated, the conversions would probably be very low. The ad, however, certainly sends a clear, consumable message about Toyota as a brand.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York