There’s no doubt the past couple years have been rough for Toyota. Now, they appear to be committed to shedding the somber, apologetic stance following a string of safety recalls, and embrace 2011 as their year. The campaign includes a new tagline, “#1 for a reason” (moving away from “moving forward”), the launch of 11 new automobile models and a couple of savvy PR campaigns.
The first is a crowdsourcing based initiative called Toyota for Good. The brand will be giving away a car each day for 100 days to non-profit organizations voted on by Facebook fans. Starting May 9, 5 non-profits will compete for votes each day, with the winner receiving a vehicle designed to enhance their philanthropic efforts.
Another initiative involves fans in innovating new uses for current technologies. Toyota is using a contest, Ideas for Good, to showcase how Toyota has openly shared technology with other industries, particularly the ways it has been used to meet human and social needs. For example, their T.H.U.M.S. (Total Human Model for Safety) has been used in football helmet manufacture to guard against brain injury.
The contest, which is currently in the voting stage, challenged users to submit their own ideas for one of five existing Toyota technologies such as hybrid synergy drive, solar powered ventilation system and advanced parking guidance system. The judging system is based on five criteria: Best re-purposing, creativity/originality, Social relevance and benefit, viability for prototyping and overall presentation. The resulting five Ideas for Good winners will get the chance to prototype their concept and pick their Toyota vehicle as a prize.