Torrance, CA -Ever since the second Toyota Prius rolled off the lot, the correct plural for the car has come into question. And with a family of Prius vehicles launching in the coming year, the question had to be addressed: What is the plural of Prius? At the Detroit Auto Show on 10th January, an integrated campaign designed to pose that exact question was launched. A 1970's style educational animation video was created by Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles in collaboration with production company Hunter Gatherer. The ad uses stop-motion animation to illustrate the complexity of plurals, such as goose/ geese; cactus/ cacti with a retro jingle adding humour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUor4gdFoyg
As well as providing the opportunity for a sing-a-long, the animation posed the question to the internet world and academics: "What happens when one becomes more?" The spot set the motif for the campaign - colorful, clean and simple. Banner ads asked the question and acted as virtual polling booths, taking users votes and then displaying the leader board. More grounded polling stations existed on Facebook, the Toyota site and the social game, Car Town.
Man of letters and host of ‘Inside the Actors Studio' James Lipton, was enlisted for the most recent leg of the campaign. In a series of tongue in cheek videos, he uses his masterful verbal techniques to pose the question ‘What is the plural of Prius?' to interviewees including ‘William Shakespeare,' a young spelling bee champion, a trio of ‘Linguistic Leaders' (more commonly known as cheerleaders) and a talking Octopus! Mr. Lipton's "Wordliness" show invites guests to create a feast of plural possibilities. View James Lipton's humourous videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ToyotaUSA
With the polls not yet closed, the public has been nothing if not vocal. With only days to go until the winning word is announced on 20th February at the Chicago Auto Show, well over 1,700,000 votes have been cast to determine the plural term for Toyota Prius. In less than a month, the animated intro piece collected nearly 170,000 views on YouTube. The campaign has successfully generated coverage by major news outlets, including CNN, NPR, Mashable and Yahoo! It has also garnered broadcast coverage on national, regional and local stations from coast to coast. There is even the possibility that the winning word will be added to the Dictionary.
A recap video of the campaign and winning word celebration will be available next week at www.ToyotaPriusProjects.com.