This is one of my first works for Saatchi & Saatchi. When I started there, the client-agency relationship was not very good and the client only gave us a very short briefing: "Make hybrid sexy!". So far, Toyota had failed to popularise the technology, which had been introduced 18 years earlier.
Our approach was not to focus on the rational, but instead on the emotional benefits and to show that hybrid driving is fun. We achieved this by aiming at the centre of German pop culture. More specifically with TATORT, the most popular crime series on German television since 1970. One of the detective couples was the perfect match: Professor Boerne, the classic petrolhead representing German full-throttle culture, together with Inspector Thiel, an environment-loving, down-to-earth guy representing classic Toyota virtues. Each episode of the two with over 11 million viewers.
The plan worked fantastically: the very first campaign achieved sales 50% above forecast. Trust in the agency was restored and the dealers, always a critical voice in a sales organisation, also regained confidence in their marketing.
This was the start of a very successful series of campaigns, social media activations and events that helped to bring Toyota back into the hearts of German customers.