MI Dealers Should Know: Don't Stalk Your Customers

in Toyota

Plenty of companies work to bring a different advertising spin to their customers. Some companies like Toyota have tried to bring creativity into the mix but being sued probably wasn't in the plan. Good thing MI dealers know better.

DETROIT, M.I. – MI dealers often offer shoppers different advertising options to show them the benefits in the vehicles they carry at their dealerships. There are different pieces of information that are offered in advertising and for different reasons. Some want to showcase new vehicles or promotions and deals while others try to bring more of their company ideas into the vision of its prospective clients.

Toyota decided it wanted to take the vision route but may not have thought the process through. One of the first mistakes was putting a lot of faith in an advertising agency that may have taken things too far in some of its campaigns for 9/11 that bordered on bad taste.

The Campaign

A link brought Amber Duick to a Toyota website, where she was invited to be a part of a personality evaluation. A "digital experience" was offered to Duick after some vague information was presented to her, and she accepted the terms.

The Next Five Days

Duick received different emails one after another, some including photos and video of someone named Sebastian Bowler. The emails said he knew information about her like her name, home address, and other information about Duick. Bowler also said he would be on his way to Duick's home to hide out since he had some issues with police officers. After a certain number of emails, Duick was convinced she was going to be visited by a dangerous person.

Only it wasn't Bowler who was coming, but a "punked" hoax by Toyota as part of a viral market campaign for the new Toyota Matrix.

Who is Responsible

Saatchi and Saatchi created this advertisement/harassment campaign but did not only stop at sending emails. The campaign came complete with realistic personas, set up social networking accounts, a real music album and even created a trace of the person on the internet so if Duick "googled" Bowler, information would pop up. At this point the information is still available.


MI dealers may know that there are always consequences to misrepresentation, and this time it is no different. Toyota is being sued by Duick as a California appellate judge has ruled that Duick may continue with her lawsuit even though the terms she accepted said she would settle any disputes in arbitration. The reason for this lies in the fact that the terms are based on fraud at the very beginning. Especially, as the judge said, no person would agree to something dangerous or even thought that was what they were agreeing to.

MI dealers may never face this issue as other automakers may be more careful with how they communicate with potential consumers or just Internet browsers.

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[Source(s): Internet Evolution]

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MI Dealers Should Know: Don't Stalk Your Customers

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This article was published on 2011/09/27