Toyota’s Yaris Social Media Campaign Off to Rocky Start

10 11 2009

I found this video originally from Laurel Papworth’s article where she lambastes Toyota for taking a shot-gun approach to social media marketing in the Australia market. They’ve given five agencies $15k AUD each to see what they can do with social in a “winner-take-all” contest.

Papworth correctly calls them on trying to take a strategy that would work with traditional advertising firms and platforms and make it work with social media. The mistake in this is that the online medium is far less unforgiving than print, radio, TV or even basic banner ads. If Toyota’s agencies don’t tread lightly (which in this case means treading with sincerity, humility and appropriate tone), they stand to do more damage than good to their online brand, largely due to the backlash that appears to have already begun by the people they know doubt had the intention of influencing.

I believe that the intensity of Papworth’s criticism stem from a correct assumption that Toyota underestimates the unique challenge of creating a successful social media brand as well how big a role strategy plays. And because of the fact that she and other bloggers certainly do appreciate these challenges because they’ve done it for themselves – they’ve done the social media equivalent of pounding on doors to build/maintain their following and brand. Toyota’s shotgun approach unavoidably comes off as a bad simplification of the strategy, responsibility and work that goes into the process. I would imagine that the agencies are a bit more ahead of the game than their client; they likely realize the challenges, but they don’t have a much of a choice (it’s Toyota after all) but to try and put their best foot forward and fake it until they make it.

The irony in all of the stir that’s been created is that none of it would likely have occurred if Toyota had, instead of awarding $75k across 5 agencies, simply awarded a single agency with a $25k test budget. I would argue that as far as actual results are concerned, they would likely have achieved the same relative level of impact but it would be significantly easier to digest the results and also determine appropriate next steps/investment. I do feel badly for the poor Toyota soul that was involved in pitching this. He or she no doubt had sincere intentions of wanting to lead the brand into this space in the “right” way, and may now be forced to answer questions about some of the unintended buzz that has already been created.

Follow Laurel Papworth on Twitter.


Create, Enjoy and Live – Random Art Workshop

10 10 2009

I’m excited to begin working with the folks at Random Art Workshop. They have a fantastic space in Causeway Bay (12th floor, Unit 1203 Island Beverley – 1 Great George) and they help Hong Kongers create an outlet to uncover their passions through art. Hong Kong is an ideal city for RAW, where the urban jungle can be overwhelmingly draining; running around with millions of people, crammed into a super-small area surrounded by massive skyscrapers tends to grate on one’s creativity. Offering both instructor led formal classes and workshops, RAW is a great place for both individuals and groups to rediscover and feed their creative spirit by finding the inner artist in a fun, creative and supportive atmosphere.
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Check out their site; follow them on Twitter; fan them on Facebook.

Create, Enjoy, Live!

Immaginare + Moonlight: Helping the Blogosphere Look and Feel Better!

25 09 2009

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Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but making a good first impression never hurt. In fact, in today’s economy with so many looking for work and employers having their pick of the litter, making a good first impression has never been more crucial. Like it or not, we are constantly judged on our appearance, how we speak and communicate, and our etiquette. Whether it be a prospective client, employer, partner or business liaison, the signals we send out do affect what comes back to us.

Image consulting firm Immaginare makes it it’s mission to help client reveal the best of themselves. I’m very excited to begin work on this project as the target audience is dynamic and unique. Whether someone is looking to reinvent him or herself, scared and frantically preparing to go on an interview or important engagement, or simply looking for someone to brainstorm with on those self-improvement areas, Immaginare can craft a custom plan to make their client’s goals a reality. Image consulting is more than a service; it’s a way of thinking about one’s life on how to improve key areas that affect how we interact with the world.

Immaginare – Follow on Twitter; Fan on Facebook; check out the blog.

Learn 10 Languages for $9.99USD/month with

25 09 2009

I’m excited to begin working with, a web-based language learning platform. Language education is huge business throughout the world and nowhere more so than Asia, where hundreds of millions are passionate about learning English and other languages in order to expand opportunities domestically and internationally. Learning a language is no simple feat; I know this from personal experience and ongoing struggle to learn Mandarin. But Langlearner has combined the best of all worlds: lessons, reading, chat, multimedia content and games. I look forward to working with the team and using Facebook, Twitter and Blogs to help them teach languages to the world!
LANGLEARNER + Moonlight Marketing = Many More Reasons to Travel

24 09 2009

I’m looking forward to working with the Roomorama team and helping them take over the world one traveler at a time.  In their own words, “Roomorama is an online marketplace for short term rentals. Use our service the next time you’re looking for a room for a few days while traveling, or if you have a spare room and are looking for an easy way to earn some cash.


I’m excited to work on this project because I think they have a genuinely good idea and being enthused about the business is 90% of the battle so I think we’re off to a good start.  As someone who loves to travel but always wishes he had more time and funds to do so, offers a unique way for travelers to visit a city without having to spend a fortune, while giving residents an opportunity to help someone out and make a little dough in doing so.  Sounds pretty simple right?

They’ve already received some positive press from the folks at USA Today and The New York Times and they’re just getting started, with great offerings in Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC.

Check out their online presence in these places:

Roomorama Blog
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