Prius Pushes Philanthropy | Adweek
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Prius Pushes Philanthropy

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Toyota’s Prius will combine three hot areas of marketing—community service, social networking and digital outdoor advertising—with a program that lets consumers promote their pet causes via Gas Station TV.

The effort, via Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, and running this week through the fall, augments a more traditional TV push that Saatchi broke in May. Both campaigns  highlight Toyota’s third-generation model, which boasts better mileage, more headroom, a bigger trunk and a lower price than its predecessors. The car launch is being targeted for the masses, not just the eco-conscious. That’s why the campaign is less about environmentalism than fostering connections among consumers.

To achieve that, the campaign is focusing on Prius buyers, who tend to be local activists. “All the research that we’ve done about the consumer shows that they’re well-connected in their community,” said Doug Frisbie, national media manager for Toyota.

Such consumers will be encouraged to submit, via Twitter and Facebook, the cause-related events they want publicized on Gas Station TV, which provides programming in more than 1,000 gas stations. For Toyota, the network has the added bonus of reaching consumers when they are filling their tanks. “It gives us the ability to generate a more personal relationship with potential customers at a natural time when they’re thinking about fuel efficiency,” said Samantha Johnson, communications director at Saatchi.

The push comes as other advertisers, including Frito-Lay, Kellogg and Starbucks, have run ads highlighting community service programs this year. David Leider, CEO of Gas Station TV, said that trend is overlapping with social media. “If you look at Facebook and some of your friends, people are putting up so many events and things,” he said. “This is just a way to broadcast that.”