What Do You Call More Than One Prius?

The campaign, “Prius Goes Plural,” challenges the public to help the automaker Toyota answer a unique, grammatical question in the wake of the world premiere of the Toyota Prius family of vehicles—what do you call more than one Prius?

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. along with its advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA announced the marketing campaign Thursday, Jan. 13, for the Prius family of vehicles.

Adding to the current third-generation Toyota Prius and Prius Plug-in vehicle (PHV), the Prius v midsize hybrid-electric vehicle and the Prius c Concept vehicle joined the hybrid brand during their worldwide debut at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

With the expansion of the Prius family, Toyota hopes to further increase acceptance of the Prius brand by offering a wider choice of vehicles that promise high fuel economy, low emissions, gas-electric hybrid technology and environmental stewardship.

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The plural of Prius has sparked debates since the launch of the first-generation vehicle ten years ago. Now that the Prius family has grown, Toyota would like its customers and fans to help decide on a term to describe the plural of Prius vehicles, the company says.

Thus, it says, the marketing campaign was designed to let the voice of the public be heard.

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Toyota has set up a system that allows everyday people to decide, by majority rule, which word will be adopted by Toyota as the official plural of Prius. An online voting module enables the public to vote for their preferred plural of Prius—five options in all, including Prius, Priuses, Prii, Prien and Prium—as well as view real-time polling data.

Once they’ve voted, consumers can share their preferred plural via Facebook. A voting widget, which lives on Facebook, Toyota.com/priusfamily and the Toyota Prius Projects site (www.toyotapriusprojects.com), will also be available to embed in blogs.

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To kick-off the campaign, during the Detroit Auto Show Toyota representatives will hand out T-shirts featuring the five Prius plural options to the first 275 guests that visit the Prius family display each day.

A hangtag attached to each T-shirt informs the recipient that he or she is eligible for a $20 Amazon MP3 credit. To redeem the credit, recipients must post a picture of themselves wearing the T-shirt to Facebook and tag both themselves and Toyota Prius in the photo. Prius buttons will also be given to guests who cast their vote onsite.

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In addition to the activities surrounding the show in Detroit, the campaign also includes a range of integrated programs and innovative creative elements.

Toyota Prius Projects, a website for owners and enthusiasts to interact with the Prius brand, hosts an animated music video highlighting several pluralized words that exist in our everyday lives in order to kindle the plural of Prius debate.

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In the social space, the Toyota Prius Facebook page and Toyota Twitter account (@Toyota) provide Prius Goes Plural content, including links to the Toyota.com voting widget and photos of new and upcoming Prius vehicles.

Additionally, “Prius Expecting” print ads in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post feature clever sonogram imagery to announce the new family of vehicles, according to the company.

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As a dynamic element of the marketing campaign, an integrated program with Cie Games’ online “CarTown” game provides the first-ever live, in-game experience which mirrors the Prius activities taking place at the Detroit Auto Show.

The initiative brings the real-world Prius Family launch into a virtual domain with an interactive, Toyota Prius-branded experience within CarTown. It is designed to introduce the new Prius family of vehicles to a highly engaged group of gamers through a virtual showroom, branded virtual items and game play elements created expressly for players who purchase digital Prius vehicles within the game.

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Also, a series of Web videos featuring a notable expert exploring the etymology of words and discussing the plural of Prius in a fresh, unexpected way will launch mid-January, on YouTube, Facebook, the Toyota Prius Projects site and Toyota.com.

The Prius Goes Plural campaign will wrap up in late February with an official announcement of the Prius plural on the last day of the Chicago Auto Show.

The plural nomenclature, as determined by popular vote, will be used in Toyota marketing initiatives going forward.

Photo courtesy: Toyota

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