Quick Case Study: Social Media Collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota

Earlier this year, Saatchi & Saatchi approached We Are Q, Inc. to collaborate on a social engagement project for two of Toyota’s brands. The new Prius c and the Venza.

First, we got to work on understanding what was being said by real people about both the Prius c and Venza brands. All mentions were dominated by “professional” bloggers. These bloggers get paid to review a car the same way a journalist reviews an automobile for a newspaper, website or other publications.

In an advert, there’s very little room to tell a story about the people who buy and drive the cars. We felt a real voice from actual potential drivers was missing. So we set out to find test drivers – people who we thought would benefit from a week test drive of both the Prius c and the Venza. Those people for whom the cars were actually made and to tell their stories.

Once we connected with the test drivers, the idea was to give everyone the car for a weekend and simply get their feedback. During each test drive, the drivers were encouraged to post their thoughts in social spaces using brand hashtags. Test drivers were not professionals and no one was paid to participate.

Then later on, we connected with the drivers to get their story on video. The videos were intended to convey an honest and real point of view of the Prius c and the Venza driving experience. From the driver, to the camera as passenger. We wanted to keep it simple, but produce videos that were after all, shareable and easy to watch. No advertising executives were on set, no one from Toyota was present when we shot the videos. Just a camera crew and the test driver.

A key success element in my mind was to stay away from car commercial stereotypes. We wanted to reach out to people who don’t normally “look” like they should be on TV. At the same time, our intention was to create a cross-promotional opportunity for the test drivers. By enabling them to promote their own businesses or endeavours, we created a built-in reason for sharing the videos.

The result is an authentic and playful look at the people who drove both the Prius c and Venza cars. Yes, these are advert stories, however it was important for us not to overdo it on the “car ad” angle while at the same time, we didn’t want to pretend this was an indie video. What do you think?

The Quebec team also used our idea for the French Canadian market however they choose to bring a more advert feel to the video.

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