In 2008, Toyota Motors paired up with Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles to release Your Other You, an advertising campaign promoting the Toyota Matrix. Targeting male twentysomethings, the campaign crafted an elaborate transmedia prank experience to overcome the demographic’s strong aversion to advertising and corporations. Saatchi’s creative director told OMMA Magazine that the campaign was all about “empowering the customer…we wanted them to be involved and to feel like they were part of the process.”
According to a complaint filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on September 28 of this year, Amber Duick did not feel empowered after experiencing the campaign firsthand. The complaint accuses Toyota, Saatchi & Saatchi, and fifty individuals associated with the campaign of: (1) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (2) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (3) negligence; (4) unfair, unlawful, and deceptive trade practices, (5) false, deceptive, and/or misleading advertising; (6) violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act; (7) fraud; and (8) negligent misrepresentation. Duick is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages.
Starting in February 2008, print, outdoor and banner ads drove traffic to yourotheryou.com. There, users were encouraged to prank a friend by providing personal information about them including their address, phone number, and alma mater. According to Nicholas Tepper, Ms. Duick’s attorney, the prank’s target would receive an email with a “personality test” containing a link to an “indecipherable” consent form. For the next five days, one of five maniacs would contact the target with personalized texts, emails, phone calls, and videos. The user could track the prank’s evolution through a dashboard indicating which messages their target received over the course of the campaign.
Vroom vroom! The sleek champagne Toyota Camry zips around the corner, coming to a screeching halt. Out steps a leggy, ultra-fashionable African-American woman, arriving to hook up with her ultra-fashionable, successful boyfriend. She flips her keys to the valet – a little “blip blip!” sounds from the Camry’s push-button car alarm, like Kit saying “see ya later!” to Knight Rider. Who is this woman? Where did she get such an awesome car with such swanky accoutrements? Where did she find that hunky boyfriend of hers? What does her rolling stone of a father have to do with the dudes who stole her purse? What kind of pie did Nana bake? And where on earth did she find those fantastic shoes?!
The latest in cross-media marketing mayhem produced by Burrell Communications Group and 42 Entertainment for Toyota’s 2009 Camry, entitled “If Looks Could Kill,” takes you inside the world of high fashion and high espionage with Bianca, the fashionista lead character poised to pique the interest of young, hip, African-American women – women, who indeed, need a swanky Toyota Camry. In each weekly episode of this interactive drama, Bianca is pressed to unravel a mystery of intrigue and espionage, all while juggling the stressful duties of her job as a fashion designer, keeping her boyfriend happy and interested, and making sure not to miss coffee and dessert with her Nana. For seven weeks, participants are treated to six movie-styled webisodes of Bianca’s crazy life as she tools around through New York City (without ever running into traffic) in her champagne-colored Camry (with touch navigation and integrated Bluetooth). Within each episode are opportunities for players to help Bianca escape from trouble, as she turns to the camera and asks you to do something for her, such as download photos and find flyers, and email her the information she needs to stay in the game.