Toyota is launching a corporate marketing program called TFL (Tiny Football League) as part of its sponsorship of Sunday Night Football and the series' half-time show.
The broadcast, Web and social media use tongue-in-cheek features on Pee Wee games to connect the virtues of youth football to spotlight Toyota's corporate image. In addition to content on network broadcasts, the effort includes Web videos and digital kiosks on Facebook and Toyota.com intended to give youth football teams across the country an online hub to show highlights of their season.
The effort, by Saatchi & Saatchi and @thisMoment, highlights youth football teams via 45-second Pee Wee football highlights that will screen during NFL halftime with longer three-minute films online. The humorous films use NFL-style color commentary and analysis of Pee Wee football players through a series of 20 broadcasts that are airing Sept. 9 through Jan. 8.
A TFL microsite will also have a section where coaches and league officials can submit their team for a chance to win a donation from Toyota. Teams can upload photos and explain how they exemplify teamwork, constant improvement, determination and overcoming adversity, which are qualities intended to tie into Toyota's own corporate themes. A panel of judges will select eight teams, each of which get $5,000 each. The TFL Fan Champion, as determined by fan voting, will receive $10,000.
Bob Zeinstra, national manager, Advertising & Strategic Planning for Toyota, says that while individual dealers have supported youth football, "it is the first time in my memory that we have done a national level effort." He adds that tying the program into half-time benefits both NBC and Toyota. "NBC wants to keep people there at the half-time show and we have to make it work for them and us."
Zeinstra says using humor keeps people engaged and allows the company to deliver a message in a lighthearted way. "Last year we did a 'history of tail-gating.' We want to keep it upbeat, lively and humorous."
The video content comprises real stories about youth football league coaches and players, and parents. Zeinstra says Toyota's partnership with the NFL also includes product advertising during ad pods. "We will integrate vehicles into TFL as appropriate but the story is more about the community."
The online creative will be unified through an online content management system via @thisMoment that puts the campaign assets on the variety of Toyota's social media and Web platforms via its "Distributed Engagement Channel" that enables diverse content from different places to be distributed on one platform to multiple social environments.
"The idea is, it makes it very easy to consolidate content on different social media platforms, which is something we are very excited about," says Zeinstra. "We see it as an opportunity to test this new technology."