Toyota is taking the next step in a wildly successful social media campaign that has seen Toyota drivers request 442,973 bright decals with the phrase in Spanish for "We are many Latinos. We are many Toyotas," proclaiming their pride in both their heritage and their Toyota ownership. Toyota's Hispanic ad agency, Conill, created more than 100 versions of the sticker reflecting different Latin American countries and cities of origin, with "Somos muchos mexicanos" being the most popular.
The challenge now is to come up with ways to keep driving the popular "Somos muchos"/"We are many" effort beyond Facebook-fueled orders for stickers. Toyota is teaming up with NBC Universal-owned network Telemundo to grow the movement both online and on TV by integrating it into a sponsored telenovela on the Spanish-language network.
The effort started this week, with spots directing viewers to Telemundo.com and the offer "Your name could appear in "Los Herederos Del Monte" ("The Heirs of Del Monte"). Join the group!"
In the "We are many" spirit "we wanted everyone to know you're part of a bigger movement," said Jacqueline Hernandez, Telemundo's chief operating officer. Beginning Monday, there will be a weekly 15-second spot mimicking the closing credits of a TV show. But the credits will really be the names of fans who have entered their information online at Telemundo.com. As the credits with fans' names roll, a split screen shows a novela scene with a Toyota integration. And there's always a space across the bottom, in the style of Toyota's "Somos muchos" stickers, that says "We are many watching 'Los Herederos Del Monte.' We are many Toyotas."
In mid-May, a one-time stunt will air during a tense novela moment, when a character is about to surreptitiously do something truly bad, like slipping poison in someone's coffee -- this is a tale of five brothers and a long-lost sister fighting over an inheritance, so there's plenty of villainous behavior. The evil-doer will look straight at the camera, and sense the audience is watching him. Then a snipe -- a graphic at the bottom of the screen -- will appear that says: "We are many Latinos watching the novela. Watch out!"
Pablo Buffagni, Conill's senior VP-chief creative officer, has become known for that kind of integrated disruption that breaks down the fourth wall between actors and viewers. A couple years ago, he masterminded a stunt during a televised Toyota-sponsored soccer championship in which a video made it appear that a game official was distracted by a huge billboard of the new Corolla on the field. (That effort was the Best of Show winner at Ad Age's Hispanic Creative Advertising Awards in 2009.)
In other activity, once novela fans sign up and join the virtual viewing party, with access to additional content about the novela, they can use Twitter hashtag #somosmuchosherederos to tweet about the program, Ms. Hernandez said. And during commercial breaks, Toyota will air spots Conill filmed last year when they went around asking Latino drivers were they were from and offering them "Somos muchos" stickers.