The Prius App: A lesson in interactive marketing

Last Saturday morning, I picked up an issue of Entertainment Weekly while waiting for my dad to get in for a visit from Rochester, NY.  Low and behold, I notice a stylized and interesting Toyota Prius ad.  It showcased the solar rooftop panels that offset the power requirements to operate the AC.  Cool enough, but then I notice it has a two step process.  Step 1: Download the Prius App.  Step 2: take a picture of the ad you are looking at.  It’s supposed to turn it into an interactive experience.  Boy, was I excited.  I grabbed my iPhone and did exactly what it told me in order to see what Toyota was trying to accomplish in terms of interactive marketing.

In the App itself, there is a 360 Tour of the prius cabin with little feature pop-ups, a game where you try to direct airflow on the outside and the most important part and the one emphasized in the App, the Interact function.  It’s pretty cool the way you take a picture of the ad and its visual conversion of the page, but in the end, the Interact function simply redirects you to various mobile formatted web pages and videos in your Safari browser.  While I was a just a bit disappointed at the end user experience, it gave me a big wow factor on the unique blend of interactivity and tracking ability of the promotion itself.  It’s taking the idea of customer engagement and conversion tracking from offline to online in a whole new direction  I found multiple conversion points.


  1. Conversion Point 1.  downloads of the App?  That’s a given.
  2. Conversion Point 2. Engagement. Once I took the picture of the App and played with it a bit, it directed me to a mobile formatted landing pages.  At that point, Toyota has determined that I engaged an Ad in Entertainment Weekly or at least that ad.
  3. Conversion Point 3. Web Engagement.  Using a pURL (personalized URL), Toyota was able to tell how engaged I was on the web browser.
  4. Conversion Point 4.  Next Steps.  At this point, you can find a dealer and of course fill out forms.

A lot of work and forethought went into designing and developing this unique App.  I give Toyota a lot of props for their marketing innovation.


I think this is a preview of what’s to come in the world of ‘App 2.0’, where businesses and marketers use mobile applications to further their promotional efforts and engage their audiences, while tracking the effectiveness of their efforts.  Its truly interactive marketing and bravo to Toyota for teaching us all what’s possible.

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photo credit: Toyota Prius 2016 via photopin (license)

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