Saatchi's Latest 'Unbreakable' Idea for Toyota Tacoma

Media Morph: From Outdoor Mural to YouTube Video

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: From outdoor mural to YouTube video.
Street mural for the Tacoma
Street mural for the Tacoma

What it is: An advertising hat trick that turned an out-of-home mural into two online videos and a magazine ad. Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif., was looking for a different way to communicate "unbreakable," the five-year-old campaign theme for the Toyota Tacoma pickup to the 25-to-35, mostly male target. The Publicis Groupe agency wanted work that was authentic for the audience, said Dino Spadavecchia, associate creative director and art director on the project.

How it worked: Saatchi partnered with artist Dave Kinsey to create two different, dramatic wall murals as backdrops for a real parked Tacoma. Then it shot magazine ads showing the building graffiti with the pickup and produced two videos, which detailed how the murals were made, and uploaded them to YouTube.

"We just kind of put it up" on YouTube for free with no promotional efforts because "we wanted it to be organic," Mr. Spadavecchia said. One mural shows an alien invasion; the other prehistoric animals rampaging a modern world. Unlike the print ads, the murals have no branding, so the out-of-home creation doesn't come off as "too corporate."

The reception: The videos are far from the most popular. The "prehistoric" video had attracted nearly 6,000 views as of July 27, and the alien video, up only a few weeks, had 3,500 views. But Mr. Spadavecchia said the murals and videos are starting to get buzz on blogs and arty sites, including iFilm.com.

The numbers: Toyota spent $13 million on Tacoma in the first quarter of 2007 and $57 million in calendar 2006, says TNS Media Intelligence. The automaker said first-half sales of Tacoma tallied 92,462 units, a 6% jump from the same period in 2006. In calendar 2000, Toyota reported selling 178,351 Tacomas, making it the best-selling compact pickup in the U.S.
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