Learning and exploring are closely related -- you might even say synonymous -- and Toyota is targeting the intersection of these two activities in its campaign for the 2016 Tacoma, under the umbrella of its “Let’s Go Places” theme.
To that end, the carmaker is taking over the entire December print issue of Mental Floss with dozens of ads, including a quirky narrative that unfolds throughout the magazine, only revealing the brand at the end. (Full disclosure: I write for Mental Floss on a freelance basis.)
Mental Floss vice president and publisher Molly Bechert explained that Toyota wanted to reach consumers with a “curious millennial explorer mind-set, so there were some obvious synergies there” for MF.
Toyota was especially interested in aligning the brand with the December issue, the first-ever Mental Floss 500, which profiles 500 leaders and innovators across categories spanning sports, entertainment, business, math, philosophy, travel.
The Toyota takeover, using the tagline “Play Now," includes 18 one-third page ads, six full-pages and four different covers. The magazine also shook up its usual design to accommodate the takeover, including eliminating ad openers for each section.
The narrative element plays on MF’s online “Fact Generator,” pairing striking images with interesting trivia -- for example, a picture of an off-road vehicle in the desert with the fact that the first bike helmets were made out of cork.
The images get progressively odder (a man in a bunny suit riding a motorcycle) without explanation, piquing reader curiosity, until the brand is finally revealed in the last few placements.
Bechert noted that Toyota approached MF relatively late in the publishing cycle, entailing some fast maneuvering: “We couldn’t have done it without editorial support because we really changed the layout – the whole thing was torn apart and put back together in less than a month.”