Client: Toyota Europe
Event: Press launch
Group size: 620
Date: 8-26 June 2009
Venue: Yasuragi Hotel, Stockholm
The brief: Toyota wanted to launch the third-generation Prius to the European motoring press. More than 600 journalists from all over Europe were invited to attend the two-day programme over a three-week period.
"The client wanted the venue, location and everything about the programme to reflect the car and its brand values," says Markus Gardner, project director at agency BI, which organised the event.
Challenges: The main challenge for BI was the tough economic climate, which resulted in a tighter budget. Toyota Europe media-events project leader Birgit Janssens says: "We didn't want to reduce the number of delegates as the Prius is our flagship car and the most important launch of the year, but we did try to cut costs everywhere we could."
Toyota normally holds press launches in the south of France or Spain for the fine weather, but BI suggested Stockholm, as it has been voted Europe's first green capital for 2010, and so fitted with the eco brand values of the Prius. Janssens admits that there were initially concerns over Stockholm as a destination because it was such a change from previous events.
Solutions: To keep costs down, a four-star property, the Japanese-style Yasuragi hotel just outside Stockholm, was chosen instead of the usual five-star resort. "The property has fantastic views over the archipelago and has spent a lot of money on geo-thermal heating and other green initiatives, which was one of the reasons it was chosen," says Gardner.
The agency worked closely with Toyota to convince the client that while it was completely different, Stockholm was the right choice for such an important launch. "We spent a long time finding the right venue and making sure we had buy-in from the client for the concept," adds Gardner.
Execution: Each Toyota territory was responsible for inviting and arranging travel for their own press, and BI liaised with the countries over the best dates for each group. Groups of up to 50 journalists arrived at Arlanda International Airport each day between 1-2pm, and headed to the Arlanda Conference Centre at the airport, where a welcome area with refreshments was set up.
They were then paired off and given the keys to a Prius, which were parked outside and set off on a three-hour drive with a coffee stop, before ending up at the hotel. After the coffee stop, the delegates were challenged to make it to the next stopping point with minimal fuel consumption, with the winners awarded a prize.
A drinks reception and press conference was followed by dinner at the hotel's Teppanyaki restaurant. The next morning, the group headed out in pairs again for another test drive, ending up at the airport, where the cars were cleaned and refuelled ready for the next group to arrive.
Verdict: "We needed to be convinced about Stockholm, and BI did a good job of getting us there," says Janssens. "While we were initially concerned, all the comments have been great. The journalists were really happy and enjoyed the event and, most importantly, we've had positive feedback on the new Prius."