Toshiba superhero campaign gets heroic results

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A superhero character named Xario saved the day—in addition to generating more than $27 million in sales—for Toshiba America Medical Systems, through an innovative e-mail program promoting Toshiba’s Xario ultrasound system.

The e-mail program was part of an integrated effort to raise awareness and generate leads for Xario, a product aimed at clinicians and sonographers.

“The goal was to drive leads, and we wanted to quantify the program so we decided to use e-mail in addition to our print campaign,” said Jim Burch, director of customer communications at Toshiba.

The initial campaign, developed by Sui Generis, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., included print ads running in publications such as Applied Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, billboards, trade shows and a comic book series that introduced Xario, a superhero who saved patients and demonstrated the product features of the Xario ultrasound system.

“We had a lot of success with the comic book, so we determined that we would turn it into something more dynamic,” Burch said.

So Toshiba and its agency created a Web site at, featuring animated episodes about Xario.

To promote the Web site and generate awareness of the product, Toshiba sponsored the ultrasound community on, a radiology Web site. Using a permission-based list from the community, Toshiba conducted an e-mail campaign that drove users to the microsite to view the Xario episodes.

It also promoted the site through ads in AuntMinnie’s e-newsletters.

Toshiba sent out e-mail blasts to 23,000 registered users during a six-week period, promoting each new episode as it came out.

As an incentive to engage users with the site, Toshiba had a 17-weeklong promotion, in which it gave away 10 Starbucks cards a week to winners who registered during the promotion.

In addition, users could request product information, request the comic book, watch video testimonials, sign up for e-mail updates and refer friends to Xario.

The campaign contributed to the sale of 325 Xario systems and total sales of more than $27 million, according to the company.

It also generated a high level of engagement with the Web site, with users staying for an average of two minutes and 42 seconds.

“The e-mail campaign was effective in getting users to come to the microsite and learn more about the product,” Burch said.

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