Media: Strategy Analysis - Marketing a hatchback as an album

Brand: AYGO by Toyota Brief: Introduce the AYGO to a new audience for Toyota Target audience: Wannabes - aspiring "style leaders" in their twenties and thirties Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media planning: Lindsey Parnell and Rik Moore, ZenithOptimedia Creative: Clemmow Hornby Inge, Miller Bainbridge Partners

STRATEGY

Toyota drivers know they will have to pay a little more, but what they get in return is a car made to the highest standards that is highly dependable.

These qualities have the effect of making Toyota drivers highly loyal and in turn skewing the brand slightly older. This can be a massive advantage when launching into the family market, but a massive disadvantage when launching a city car for the young driver.

Toyota had not directly played in the young market, its only offering being the Yaris, which had again attracted an old audience. This was to change in 2005 with the launch of the AYGO, an affordable hatchback.

ZenithOptimedia's challenge was to launch into this difficult market and sell the AYGO as a credible city car.

As the perception of Toyota in the youth market was neutral at best, ZenithOptimedia had to be careful about associating the AYGO with Toyota.

In the early phases, the agency decided to build a buzz around the AYGO and keep the fact that it was from Toyota hush-hush.

Music has always been seen by advertisers as the "passion" access point to the young audience, but how do you communicate in an arena when your brand has no right to be there? ZenithOptimedia decided that if it forced a traditional message into music, it would be viewed very cynically, but if it added to the entertainment it would be welcomed.

ZenithOptimedia therefore treated AYGO as a band and entered the music market by releasing a (spoof) record.

EXECUTION

- Press and ambient: The record was launched using the record industry's palette of tools - music press, urban posters, beer-mats, street magnets and seeded Polaroids in bars and clubs. This put the AYGO in the same environment as big record releases from acts such as Oasis and Gorillaz.

Focusing on the "01.07.05" launch date, this mixture of traditional and ambient channels created intrigue and buzz among young consumers in the run-up to the launch.

- Events: Once launched, the AYGO was taken to music festivals. It was advertised alongside real music releases using media channels such as Blink TV and festival posters. ZenithOptimedia also distributed AYGO-branded T-shirts, ponchos and beach balls at key festivals, providing a deeper contact with our festival-goers.

- Sponsorship: Sponsorship was used to align the brand with other key music properties. AYGO sponsored Yahoo!'s Festival Guide, in the largest deal ever done between the online portal and an automotive advertiser. AYGO also sponsored Channel 4's annual beach party T4 on the Beach, which saw it appear with a host of chart acts in front of 40,000 revellers at Weston-Super-Mare, and a further 9.2 million TV viewers, through the live broadcast and supporting trails.

RESULTS

Visitors to Aygo.co.uk increased six-fold following the first week of the record launch activity. The number of brochure requests was seven times the number requested for Toyota's previous launch. Importantly, 44 per cent of those requesting a brochure and wanting a test drive were aged under 30 and 70 per cent were under 40. These positive results in the early stages of a purchase funnel are translating to on-target sales results.

THE VERDICT - Mark Sherwood executive planning director, Rocket

There was a time before the Bushism when US presidents made a bit of sense.It is Abraham Lincoln who is supposed to have said: "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." Here we have a campaign that was about fooling people into thinking this was the launch of an album , rather than a cute-looking city car.

To me, this is a dangerous strategy because, although politicians may be able to hoodwink the electorate, brands normally get found out and if this happens they are usually in trouble.

I'm unclear why you would even want to go down this fooling route for this campaign. The AYGO looks good and seems to have had some positive reviews and I think it would be a model Toyota would want to shout about, rather than try to make it appear to be something it isn't.

The strategy also strikes me as a classic example of a brand trying far too hard to be cool. Cool just is, trying to be isn't.

So, I'm not a fan of the campaign idea but what about how it was executed?

The agency appears to have done a good job of creating the feel of an album launch using a variety of relevant music touch-points. I also agree that if a brand "that has no right to be there" is going to associate itself with music, then something has to be added to the entertainment.

In this campaign, though, I'm unsure what was actually added.

Simply running ads at festivals may give the feeling of an album launch but adds nothing in terms of entertainment. The sponsorship activity is about association but, again, it doesn't provide anything additional to Joe Public.

So how do you add to people's entertainment? There are lots of simple, relevant ways. Create your own urban festival, have an interactive TV ad that allows you to assess unique music content, link up with a record label to provide free downloads at Toyota garages or on the website, or run a radio promotion during drivetime where you get rid of all the ad breaks.

Hats off to the guys for trying to think beyond just the category rules, but there is a clear lesson to be learnt from this campaign. If you're going to think differently, make sure you get the idea right in the first place.

SCORE: 2/5.

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