Toyota drives chatter for TikTok debut with creator-led dance challenge

    • Toyota ran the first vehicle giveaway from a major automotive brand on TikTok in the U.S. The strategy generated online attention ahead of the launch of the marketer’s official channel on the video-sharing app Friday (July 15), per details shared with Marketing Dive. 
    • The effort centered on a #CorollaCrossStep challenge where users could show off their dance moves to win a 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. Aubrey Fisher, a creator who also stars in TV ads promoting the new vehicle, helped judge submissions and appears in the inaugural video for Toyota’s TikTok page alongside the first-place winner.  
    • The campaign, which inspired 1.4 million user-generated videos featuring the #CorollaCrossStep hashtag, is representative of how legacy automakers are shifting gears to digital and social media tactics to court the next generation of drivers.

    Toyota drove hype and cultivated an audience for the debut of its TikTok page with the #CorollaCrossStep challenge, which is billed as the first giveaway of its kind on the ByteDance-owned app. The question now is if the brand can sustain that level of engagement on a platform that is increasingly advertiser-dense and prone to fast-moving trends. Agency partners Saatchi & Saatchi, Burrell Communications and Conill Advertising worked directly with TikTok and US Sweeps onthe effort.

    The automaker took a multiphased approach in the ramp up to its official TikTok channel going live last week. Rewinding back to the start of the year, the brand introduced an integrated campaign to bring the Corolla Cross to market. “Find Your Groove” spots designed with Burrell Communications starred Fisher, a creator well-known for his dance videos and who commands an audience of over 2.1 million followers on TikTok. 

    In March, Fisher worked with seven other creators to kickstart the #CorollaCrossStep challenge, which lasted 30 days and lead to 1.4 million videos created. Fisher then reviewed the leading submissions and helped pick three winners for the contest, appearing with the grand prize winner in a new TikTok video. 

    Relying on an established name in Fisher likely granted Toyota a level of reach that would be hard to achieve organically. The effort generated 140 million impressions — 59% more than the company expected — and brought over 127,000 followers to the @toyota TikTok account, which has otherwise remained quiet since Friday. Along with sparking a large number of user-generated videos, the #CorollaCrossStep hashtag has seen over 8 billion real-time video views since March. 

    Many marketers have turned to TikTok to appeal to its massive global audience. The app is a favorite among younger generations like Gen Z and Gen Alpha, topping digital video stalwarts like YouTube in terms of time spent.

    “Brands like Toyota are looking to find platforms that enable relatability and drive connection, which is what ultimately re-engages newer audiences with heritage brands,” said Jodi Porter, director of the automotive and dining verticals at TikTok, in a statement. 

    The broader marketing playbook for the Corolla Cross employs Toyota’s “Total Toyota,” or T2, approach targeting “transcultural mainstream audiences across America.” 


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