Digital Video Helps Toyota Reach ‘Light Linear Viewers’

DionneToyota Motors is a big TV spender. It bought, according to Kantar Media, three minutes of commercial airtime during Super Bowl XLIX –trailing only Anheuser-Busch and Fiat Chrysler.

Although Toyota will continue to invest in big TV tent poles, it’s test-driving more digital video activation, and is sponsoring premium NBCUniversal video running on AOL’s network.

Toyota saw the partnership between NBCUniversal and AOL, in which NBC will syndicate premium content from network partners on AOL’s various properties, as a chance to tap into an integrated platform with premium content. It’s also an experiment to feel out the brave new world of online video.

“We’re interested in learning how we can activate not just on pre-roll, but working with the talent from some of the AOL properties and determine what type of custom content can be developed,” said Dionne Colvin-Lovely, national director for traditional and new media at Toyota. “We’re still working through the details in that regard.”

Toyota had previously done custom sponsorships on AOL properties like The Huffington Post and Engadget, which Colvin-Lovely said offered deeper segmentation for its target audience.

Video network AOL On claims to average one billion video views cross-platform each month, which Colvin-Lovely described as critical for reach across desktop video, mobile apps and over-the-top devices.  

Reach extension, she was, was “one of the foundational elements going into the partnership," as was engagement.

Additionally, tapping the NBC/AOL audience helps Toyota reach multicultural consumers. This is a key initiative for the automaker, which recently unified its three multicultural agencies and its general market agency Saatchi & Saatchi through Toyota's Total Market initiative.

Finally, Colvin-Lovely said the brand wanted to plan its digital video and TV executions in more of a converged manner – which NBCU-AOL can provide since it’s premium broadcast content airing against a vast digital network.

“We’ve done a lot of testing that gives us confidence that with online video, we can reach light linear TV viewers,” she said. “We’re trying to minimize duplication in terms of the promotions we’re doing. So while we’re looking at this nationally, we’re open to seeing if there’s residual extensions at the regional level.”

Ultimately, Toyota wanted to get involved in an unconventional partnership, Colvin-Lovely said.

In addition to its AOL deal, NBCUniversal has begun selling ads on digital video giant YouTube, which is a departure from the network’s historically closed dealings with digital partners.

“We’re seeing publishers begin to step out from their own sort of walled gardens and really betting heavy on the premiumness of the content and value of that content to consumers,” Colvin-Lovely said. “That’s compelling for a brand like ours.”

 

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