Toyota is targeting the apparently untapped 'geek' demographic with a new multichannel campaign for its 2012 Yaris.
This focuses around a mini-series called Your Dungeon My Dragon, as well as a Yaris avatar that's been designed for Xbox LIVE.
Toyota wants to reach the 'geek chic' market, as it says that competitors neglect this group while gunning after "cool hipster customers".
The car company describes consumers within this segment as wanting, "a basic, affordable car so that they can save their money for gadgets, toys and computers".
Xbox users can unlock the Yaris avatar by completing two games within Your Dungeon My Dragon, available online or on mobile devices.
Static and video banners on Xbox Live, mobile devices and MSN.com, along with advertorial on MSN.com, will push users to the Dragons games.
After people have unlocked the avatar, players can use it on Xbox Live, Windows phones or Xbox.com.
The Xbox campaign is part of a larger strategy for the Yaris launch, involving a range of videos on Yaris.com that are hosted by comedian Michael Showalter.
Toyota says it's also targeting ‘geeky’ consumers with a video of someone unboxing a Yaris on Gizmodo.com, and a section called yar.is on I Can Has Cheezburger allowing people to send in images of cats and dogs in cars.
This is the second time Toyota has used the Xbox Live platform to launch a new car, having used the same tactic with its Prius model in 2011. This also follows the launch of new ‘Living Ads’ on Yahoo’s Livestand iPad app last month.
Though it's true that car companies don't usually treat gamers as their core target audience, so that's a differentiator, the description of 'geek chic' here seems somewhat confused.
Is a true gamer really likely to be swayed by a few flash-based games and a new avatar? It's unlikely from where we're standing.
Plus, the activities mentioned above, from watching a video on Gizmodo (which is in the top 250 sites for US web traffic) and viewing I Can Has Cheezburger are far more mainstream than Toyota appears to think.
That isn't to say this isn't an interesting campaign, particularly given the interest in Xbox Live of late - but the notion of 'geek' is not what it once was, and in fact could now just be called tech-savvy.
What's more, it's far more likley that those "cool hipster customers" Toyota says its competitors are focused on are the ones that actually interact with this campaign.