Toyota’s ‘Meals Per Hour’ Video Generating Hundreds of Thousands of Meals for Sandy Victims

Remember Superstorm Sandy? Though it’s been a long time since the devastating storm made headlines, it remains fresh in the minds of east coasters still recovering from the punishing winds, rain and surf unleashed upon them last fall.

In an effort to re-rally support for those still struggling to put their lives back together, Toyota released the below video last week, titled “Meals Per Hour.” For every time the video is viewed (up to 1 million views), Toyota has pledged to provide a meal to Sandy victims still struggling to feed their families. As of yesterday — one week after the video’s release — the short documentary-style film had already generated 892,000 views/meals. As of this writing, that number has jumped to 905, 695.

In the video, we see that for many in the Rockaways of New York, life has yet to return to normal. We are introduced to the Metro Food Distribution center, a local food bank struggling to provide enough food to those who need it. One volunteer says that even though workers are dedicated to providing assistance, part of the problem is that “there isn’t really a system set up…if you have a good system, the work takes care of itself.”

Enter Toyota, which has had a fair amount of practice creating efficient systems (cars don’t just manufacture themselves, you know). The Toyota Production System (TPS) is based on the idea that “the summation of many, many small, cheap improvements can have a big impact.” One Toyota representitive, who shares TPS with non-profits around the country, explains, “These basic principles of the Toyota Production System apply to any kind of process — it doesn’t have to be manufacturing.”

The upbeat and inspiring video goes on to detail the changes made through teamwork between Metro and the Toyota reps, and shows the impressive and positive impact those small changes are having on the community (spoiler: Metro can now feed 400 more families and in less time).

The cause marketing video, produced by Supermarché directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, has been more successful more quickly than even Toyota seems to have expected. The initiative had originally allotted a full month for the potential 1 million views to come rolling in, but since that goal has nearly been reached after only a week, Toyota is making some changes of its own.

Marjorie Schussel, Toyota’s corporate marketing director, said that while the effort was initially supported by paid media, the massive and immediate response has allowed the car-maker to re-rout funds in an even more charitable fashion.

“Once the documentary launched and we saw the amount of organic pick-up, we re-allocated our paid media dollars to fund additional donations to [meals nonprofit] Food Bank,” Schussel explained.

Major PR kudos to Toyota for not only creating such a successful cause marketing campaign, but for increasing its support of the cause when it appeared that its original goal would be met much faster than initially expected. And, because we just couldn’t resist, additional kudos for managing to use the acronym TPS without a single reference to “Office Space“…clearly, we couldn’t muster the same restraint.

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