Toyota: "Truck Summoner," Yaris Xbox Live

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Last week saw a terrific double whammy from Toyota as the Tacoma took its tough guy roadshow to World of Warcraft and the cutesy Yaris got its own Xbox Live Arcade game.

A few have raised the quibble that the WoW crossover has been done—as if enough nerds didn't already know about its existence, the game was the basis of a South Park episode. But there's a more important lesson than Toyota simply setting a piece of propaganda in the game. Truck Summoner, which we explored earlier here, could have been a webfilm and would have gone viral exceedingly quickly—but the push to broadcast made all the difference. The befuddlement of the few, the furrowed brows who didn't quite get it when it ran on the tube, in this case didn't outweigh the empowerment of the many, a winning equation resulting from Toyota and Saatchi executing the spot with a natural, unforced feeling.

The Tacoma now not only has its Monster trucking, Nessie baiting side, but is also the official vehicle of World of Warcraft, a game with over 9 million users worldwide. A roughneck nerdmobile. Nice work.

The Takashi Murakami toy to Tacoma's Lich King is the cuddly Yaris, already endowed with an animated persona with help from Tokyo Plastic but now making its on-demand, free-of-charge debut on an Xbox 360 near you. While it's unlikely any video game venture will reach the heights achieved by last year's BK Games project until heavy-duty development makes the creation of intricate, crafted games more accessible to brands, Yaris is a great role model. (An aside: The BK Games may not have been the most engaging in terms of gameplay, but what they cost compared to what they delivered was balanced. The 'limited availability' of the BK Games partly drove a false exclusivity during the holidays. It'll be interesting to see how a free game will do. Both should serve as an interesting study for whoever ventures to develop the first really intense and playable brand-related game—how will consumers mitigate the desire to pay for play something they've heard is great with their natural antipathy to the games origins or aims?)

Oops, well, you were probably looking for answers, not questions, but the wake-up-call that was Halo 3's massive launch no doubt got many wondering how to create compelling, sought-after products for gamers. And despite rampant stereotyping throughout (and herein), it's not just single male dweebs in their parents' basements pushing mice oranged by years of Cheetos who are playing. Renny Gleeson, head of digital strategy at Wieden + Kennedy, Portland recently delved into a thorough rundown of just who's gaming. Once we figure that out then we can figure out how to make a Myst for Mentos and Doritos' version Doom.

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