Saatchi Works With, Not Around, TiVo

LOS ANGELES Toyota Motors’ first TiVo-exclusive long-form commercial breaks today and runs for the next six days, said Mark Simmons, national manager of media and strategy.

The three-minute entertainment uses cutout animation layered with photo elements to recount the legend of the Jack-a-Lope and promote the Tacoma. “We wanted to keep it raw and have a dynamic feel to it, and use color palettes to signify what’s happening in the narrative,” said Dino Spadavecchia, the art director teamed with Napper Tandy (copy) on the project.

The yarn (“Without the Tacoma, I’d be dinner for the Jack-a-Lope”) started with the animation’s punk-revivalist song, according to Harvey Marco, executive creative director at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif. “When you talk to an audience that is young and savvy, the BS meter is ticking,” said Marco. “The best way to reach them is entertainment infused with content. TiVo is one way of doing that.”

Marco said the animation is part of the agency’s broader strategy of “approaching every assignment from a nontraditional way, starting with anything from integrated content long form to guerrilla marketing.”

Simmons said the automaker’s first flirtation with TiVo-specialty marketing involved an NBC initiative wherein promos for the Toyota-sponsored Today concert series would display an icon allowing TiVo users to opt to record the performance automatically. The Jack-A-Lope animation is part of TiVo’s “Showcase” feature on the home page of the digital-recording device, now used by around 3 million people.

Simmons said Toyota had “challenged” the agency to explore new and unusual media opportunities, and that the feature “married up nicely with Saatchi’s concept.”

“Using TiVo makes a lot of sense,” said Simmons. “People can opt in when they want to see this sort of compelling and entertaining creative. We know that the key demos of younger males are hard to reach, and we’re using TiVo to reach them in an entertaining and unique way.”

In concert with that idea, Marco explained, Saatchi has also created small-space print ads for Tacoma “to infiltrate the markets where these guys hang out” such as browsing free urban weeklies. The work, mixed in with the personals and movie listings, include a parody promotion of a band called The Tacomas in which the truck is relegated to the background and readers have to examine the ad closely to get the message.