Monday, February 15, 2010
Toyota Engages NASCAR fans
I don’t know about you, but the several feet of snow in front of my house is really inhibiting my lifestyle. I’m spending even more time than usual with popular culture, including lots of unavoidable advertising. Which brings me to my viewing of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race on Sunday, which was a sheer act of desperation. I cannot think of anything more boring than watching automobile racing. Yes, I know it’s the fastest growing sport (is it a sport?) in the United States. But don’t count me among its fans. One of the ads I saw was for Toyota racing, which directed the viewer to their website. It’s a really interactive website, and provides a good example of participatory advertising. In particular, I was drawn to the “Design it. Enter it” link that enabled the participant to do all kinds of fun things to a race car. And when finished, you can submit it to a contest. I spent a good deal of time playing around with this pretty cool feature (you can now tell I’m really stir-crazy!). I bring this to your attention, because I spent a considerable amount of time with this brand, and that’s the goal of participatory advertising: to create deep engagement that is sustained over time. Engagement is the new metric (way to measure) advertising effectiveness. We all know that most 30-second commercials go in one ear and out the other, so if an advertiser can get you to participate with their brand in some form or fashion over a sustained period of time, the likely result is deep engagement. Different brands go about it different ways – Starbucks is the pre-eminent user of multiple engagement platforms. But this Toyota website is a good example of how the “new” advertising works. Check it out and let me know what you think – even if you aren’t a fan of Danica Patrick.