Interactive Postcards: Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific’s New Online Ad Promotes Toyota to Youth-Oriented Market

LOS ANGELES-A new interactive ad from Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific for client Toyota Motor Sales allows personal computer users to design and send an online postcard. The ad, which promotes Toyota’s RAV4 sport utility vehicle, breaks this month in Launch, a bimonthly entertainment CD-ROM.
Executives at the agency’s office in Torrance, Calif., and at 2Way Media, which publishes Launch, call the postcard one of the most elaborate ads developed for the interactive medium to date. While other advertisers have created postcards for the Web, none have allowed users to design their own cards, said executives at Launch and Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific. The postcard was created by the agency’s Design & Digital Media Group.
The ad and its placement within Launch, a music-oriented publication, fit Toyota’s youth-oriented target market for the RAV4, explained Alan Segal, a Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific art director who worked on the project. “The positioning for the RAV4 highlights individuality,” he said. “We thought, ‘How can we communicate that, still give information on the product and yet make the ad entertaining?'”
To view the ad, the computer user clicks a Toyota icon on Launch’s opening page, which also highlights icons for some of the other advertisers appearing in the issue. Once in the ad, the user can design the postcard by layering a choice of backdrops and other visual elements. There is also an assortment of sounds, ranging from chimp noises to surf guitar music, to choose from. Interspersed with instructions on how to construct the postcard is information on the vehicle. The ad also provides access to Toyota’s Web site.
“If you take the time to make the postcard, you’ll remember the ad,” explained David Goldberg, chief executive of Santa Monica, Calif.-based 2Way Media and editor of Launch. The average person, Goldberg added, spends four minutes in an interactive ad.
The postcard is also a powerful ad vehicle because the user sends it on to a second viewer, Segal said. “People have fun, but they learn the brand-building message about Toyota by creating the card.”
Saatchi designed its first interactive ad for Launch two years ago, to promote Toyota’s Tacoma truck.
The Launch CD-ROM, with a guaranteed circulation of 150,000, is sold in more than 8,000 retail stores for $9.98 per issue and through subscription for $39.95 per year. The August issue went on sale last week.