How Toyota Used QR Codes and Augmented Reality To Engage A Younger Audience

Toyota Engages Consumers with Hatsune Miku. Photo via Hatsune Miku Facebook pageAiming to “connect the real, traditional world with Toyota’s digital world,” Toyota launched a campaign for the 2012 Corolla back in May 2011, targeting an Asian-American audience.  The campaign was based on the US introduction of “computer-generated pop star” Hatsune Miku, but also had a strong focus on mobile content with QR codes and augmented reality to drive traffic to Toyota’s website.

In addition to bridging the gap between the real and digital worlds, Toyota also aimed to “appeal to the younger, tech-savvy Corolla target audience” and to “make the campaign shareable.” The company was also seeking to “expand the conversations” it was having with potential Corolla consumers, according to Michael Nelson, senior digital marketing manager at Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The campaign’s three major elements all tied together: a US Hatsune Miku concert in California (sponsored by Toyota) in September, a branded mobile barcode called ToyoTag, and an augmented reality experience that debuted with the Hatsune Miku concert.

Nelson was looking to encourage consumers to try new types of content, and successfully did so with the augmented reality experience:

  • Toyota consumers were encouraged to use their mobiles to take photos of the ToyoTag
  • They were then prompted by SMS to download the Toyota Shopping Tool app
  • Once the app was downloaded, consumers could view Hatsune Miku singing next to the 2012 Corolla

The results?  According to eMarketer, the Hatsune Miku concert saw a 600% increase in Toyota Shopping Tool app downloads, as users engaged with the augmented reality experience.  App downloads remained above normal rates for the following week, and Toyota saw a 30% jump in Corolla leads in that same time period.

Extending engagement past the concert was also a goal for Nelson, and both download rates and web traffic indicated Toyota was successful. Time spent on the Corolla/Hatsune Miku web page “outpaced” time spent on the entire Corolla section of Toyota’s site for the week following the virtual concert, as reported by eMarketer. The web traffic for the Corolla/Miku site increased 167% from the week of September 4 to the week of September 11th, and only returned to pre-campaign rates after 7 weeks.

Nelson told eMarketer that Toyota plans to use more mobile marketing technologies in the year to come.