Last year we penned a short piece on ‘artificial brand ambassadors’ and the possible virtues they might hold for a brand over the sometimes-unpredictable nature of traditional endorsement deals with all too fallible human beings.
A recent glut of ‘puppet based ambassadors’ seems to echo some of our sentiments, and now one automotive brand has taken on board the concept wholeheartedly, adopting a virtual musician as the leading lady in its marketing efforts.
Japanese automotive company Toyota recently entered into a partnership with Hatsune Miku, a 3D holographic singer with a rising fan base in the US, to front its 2011 Corolla campaign for the Asian American market.
Toyota is set to sponsor the virtual singer’s first performance in the US, at the Nokia Theatre in LA as part of the Anime Expo 2011, as it rolls out a major marketing campaign including print, TV, digital and social media activity.
As for Hatsune Miku herself, the popular Japanese digital avatar was initially developed by Crypton Future Media in order to promote its Vocaloid singing synthesizer software.
A recently released YouTube video of the singer emerging from a Toyota vehicle and taking to the stage notched up in excess of half a million views in just three days, with a drive for likes on the brand’s Facebook providing ongoing insight on new content from the partnership.
"Toyota maintains a constant pulse on global trends and influences," said Bob Zeinstra, Toyota’s National Manager, Advertising and Strategic Planning. "We are excited to have this partnership with Hatsune Miku, the story of the character, her music and her dedicated fans are intriguing and in parallel with the storied history of Toyota Corolla”.
It's a clever deal, rooted in innovation and music, which can be controlled to the finest detail without fear of the artist suddenly becoming a liability.