Toyota's new hybrid synergy website ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota's new hybrid synergy website

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Toyota's new hybrid synergy website

Toyota is attempting to create a community for hybrid car buyers, but may be too late to make a big splash. Although it might be fun to use the imagery and sounds to demonstrate why you went hybrid, I can't imagine this would bring a lot of long term enjoyment to most people.

Also, I might suggest some other sites to join up with who cater to hybrids at large, rather than just Toyota hybrids. While niche is fine, restricting yourself to one perspective just limits you.

Press Release Follows:

NEW YORK, Jan. 2 -- Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., a leading manufacturer of energy efficient vehicles, today announced the re-launch of its Web site for Toyota hybrid owners, a community that has grown exponentially in recent years.

Designed by Saatchi & Saatchi LA and Enjoy User Experience and developed/produced by Firstborn ( along with Vital Stream, the site explores the amazing diversity of Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) owners by inviting them to create profiles of their reasons for owning a hybrid vehicle.

"Toyota's more than 600,000 hybrid owners are very passionate about their vehicles and the reasons they drive them," said Gregg Benkendorfer, National Manager of Media Strategy and Digital Marketing for Toyota. "The new community site taps into that excitement by letting users visually represent themselves through graphic art and video. Members will help promote the HSD brand as they evangelize about their own personal experiences."

The Toyota site allows users to view owners by a host of attributes, from age group to vehicle color. Most importantly, it offers hybrid owners the opportunity to share their reasons for driving a hybrid and to provide some statistics about themselves and their vehicles. Each and every community member is visually represented, with their profile searchable and viewable in a variety of ways, making the forum a great way to see the diversity of community members.

The site also includes fun features such as an interactive distance map, which charts how much further Toyota hybrid vehicles travel than ordinary cars, and a gas savings calculator.

"The HSD site is based on the theme that everyone has their own reasons for owning a Toyota hybrid," said Peter Kang, interactive creative director for Saatchi & Saatchi LA. "Whether it's the fuel economy, the technology or the environment, we're fueling the movement toward HSD vehicles at a grassroots level by bringing to light the many tangible benefits."

Saatchi & Saatchi LA joined forces with Firstborn to bring the site to life with dynamic visualization of member data and their reasons for owning a hybrid. The site provides a palette of concepts, statements, imagery and sounds for users to choose from to help them illustrate their reasons. Users also can personalize their reasons with their own images and video clips.

"We are thrilled to be part of developing a site that celebrates and encourages environmental awareness," said Michael Ferdman, president, Firstborn. "The blueprint for the site is simple: let everyone see all of the reasons why people choose Toyota hybrid vehicles, in a visually cool and compelling way. We wanted to develop a site where people could have a lot of fun exploring and being part of this unique 'green' community."

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