|Brand||TOYOTA MARKETING JAPAN CORPORATION|
|Product / Service||PRIUS|
|Category||A03. Cars & Automotive Products & Services|
|Entrant||DENTSU INC. Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Idea Creation||DENTSU INC. Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Idea Creation 2||TAIYO KIKAKU Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Media Placement||DENTSU INC. Tokyo, JAPAN|
|PR||DENTSU PUBLIC RELATIONS Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Production||DENTSU TEC Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Production 2||TAIYO KIKAKU Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Production 3||TAKI KOUBOU INC. Cyuo-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Yusuke Shimano||Dentsu inc.||Creative Directer|
|Takuya Fujita||Dentsu inc||Plannner|
|Yusuke Koyanagi||Dentsu inc.||Art Directer|
|Yoshiaki Sakashita||Dentsu inc.||Planner|
|Mizuki Kawano||TAIYO KIKAKU co.,ltd.||Plannner|
|Takashiro Sugiyama||Dentsu Tec inc.||Digital Producer|
|Daisuke Baba||DentsuTec inc.||Digital Producer|
|Takanori Wada||Dentsu Tec inc.||Digital Producer|
|Masanori Nakamura||Dentsu inc.||Account Executive|
|Jun Matsumura||Dentsu inc.||Account Executive|
|Yasuyuki Kanoko||Dentsu inc||Account Executive|
|Teppei Ohno||TAIYO KIKAKU co.,ltd.||Film Producer|
|Ryosuke Kondo||TAIYO KIKAKU co.,ltd.||Film Producer|
|Ryoichi Shimoyama||Dentsu Public Relations Inc.||PR Directer|
Turning Test Driving into 'Taste Driving'. In order to match the lifestyle rhythms of Japanese businessmen with long working hours and limited free time, coffee and gum products with a "test driving taste" were developed to allow potential customers to experience the feeling of having had a test drive in a short period of time. For example, the powerful driving performance became the powerful body of the coffee. The smoothness of the ride became the smoothness of the coffee. As the Prius is a hybrid vehicle, the coffee was a hybrid blend of Colombian and Ethiopian beans. The refreshing experience of driving in a Prius was created through the refreshing mint flavor gum. The campaign proved to be an opportunity to gain interest of targets and spark debate over whether the taste really represented the feel of driving the Prius. This debate promoted a further understanding over its improved performance.
Lotte is Japan's biggest manufacturer of gum and Bluebottle Coffee is a coffee shop popular among young people. The products were developed in collaboration with these two companies. The gum and coffee developers test drove the Prius and spent three months creating the Taste Driving taste. Firstly, a product launch was held for the Taste Driving coffee. The coffee was actually sold at the coffee shop. For one month, the product was continually sold out, and people who read the news and thought the product then spread the word about Taste Driving on social media. Once the coffee was a hot topic, the Test Driving gum was also released, and the gum was also given away free to consumers at 5000 Toyota dealerships across Japan. The number of people who actually applied for test drives increased, with consumers wanting to confirm the relationship between the taste and the vehicle's drivability.
The campaign also resulted in debates and differences of opinion on social media with some people saying such as “The products was delicious. Both the car and the gum were smooth” or “What would happen if you actually test drove the car.” By attracting people's interest in this way, the issue became a major topic throughout Japan. As a result, the overall campaign reached 36 million people in Japan. Target consumers developed an interest in the Prius and the degree of interest in the vehicle increased by 35%. The proportion of potential customers taking test drives also increased by 53%, reaching its highest ever level. The campaign succeeded in proving that even busy Japanese people can be encouraged to change their perceptions and take action. Following the campaign, domestic sales of the Prius increased by 94.9% year-on-year. Prius succeeded in becoming the number one selling vehicle in Japan during 2016.
Behind this PR campaign was the need to address the issue of encouraging Japanese people, who are usually busy due to long working hours, to test drive the Prius in order to eliminate the perception of the Prius as an 'ordinary' drive. Taking these social factors into consideration, it was decided to develop new products through collaboration with another company rather than running an advertising campaign. This campaign became a much-talked about online topic and the spread of this discussion lead to exposure principally through earned media. It can be said that this was an approach relevant to the PR.
Given those background factors, we focused on one aspect of the survey results. It was found that more than 70% of the target who has small car drink coffee or chewed gum every day. Coffee and gum were products which the targets felt familiar in both their private and professional life. When new products are released, these businessmen frequently enjoyed discussing the new tastes and flavors with their friends. Therefore, it was decided to pare down the target media to online media that could be viewed briefly and we set about designing a PR campaign that would, in just a short time, allow people to experience the feel of driving the Prius and provoke conversation about the topic in the same way as consumers discussed new gum and coffee products.