Start Your Impossible: 5 Questions With Toyota’s Scott Thompson


Toyota Start Your Impossible boy

Toyota Start Your Impossible

With “Start Your Impossible,” Toyota is making a bold statement —and its first global corporate campaign—about its focus on the future.

The new campaign and tagline (introduced on November 1st) spans a range of initiatives for the automaker, connecting its corporate citizenship to its innovation pipeline.

The tagline and campaign flex to cover mobility in the automotive sense (of driverless and electric cars) and “mobility services” and the human mobility connected to its sponsorship of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

“Start Your Impossible” launched in 24 countries in celebration of Toyota’s eight-year global sponsorship of The Olympic and Paralympic Games as the first-ever Mobility Partner in the history of The Olympic Partner (TOP) Programme to sponsor the mobility category.

Toyota Start Your Impossible boy

Some of the digital and social amplifications of “Start Your Impossible” include:

Relay Your Challenge: With the belief that achieving the impossible begins by setting goals and declaring them aloud, Toyota encourages consumers and its team members to share their ‘impossible statement’ and relay it forward so that people worldwide can participate and challenge themselves.

Impossible Stories: These are inspiring in-depth long form videos of 10 impossible challengers in 10 countries, three of which are available at launch. The documentaries convey a deeper understanding of Toyota’s vision for the future through the challengers’ stories of starting their own “impossible.”

A two-minute film, titled “Mobility for All,” features snippets of 100 “real-life mobility stories” of individuals of every age, from a baby learning to crawl to athletes of various ages overcoming disabilities; to nonagenerians and centenarians doing things like shooting pool and running races.

A group of 16 distinguished athletes participate in the spot, including: Tatyana McFadden, the world’s leading wheelchair racer who has won 17 Paralympic medals across five Games for the USA; Brad Snyder, American Paralympic swimmer, former captain of the U.S. Naval Academy swim team and three-time gold medalist at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016; and Rami Anis, a swimmer from Syria, part of the Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

The video also includes glimpses of the mobility concepts being developed by Toyota and show how it’s “leading innovation to create a barrier-free society by continuously developing new technologies and pioneering research.” Beyond automated vehicles, it includes a Human Support Robot that assists people with limited mobility in everyday activities; and the iBot, a four-wheel-drive “modular personal mobility platform” that can roll across challenging terrain and raise a seated user to eye-level and  standing height by raising itself and balancing on two wheels.

Scott Thompson - Corporate Manager Communications Toyota North AmericaFor more insights, we spoke with Scott Thompson (right), Toyota’s North America Corporate GM of Marketing.

Let’s start with “Start Your Impossible”—what is it communicating about the Toyota brand?

It’ll be our first-ever global campaign. When we tell people that, it’s quite a shock to them. Because we have such a strong marketing presence globally. This is the first time we’ve developed a global campaign. This is a corporate campaign. We’ve used automotive brands around the world. The idea is to announce to the world that Toyota is more than just a car company. We’re talking about a commitment to mobility and community and this campaign is being used to communicate that around the world—the evolution of Toyota into a mobility company.

Why are you taking this specific approach?

Our vision is about ever-better mobility for all. The intent is providing everyone with the ability to move. “Start Your Impossible” actually is an entree into showcasing that when people are free to move, anything is possible. We’ve utilized the vision to draw a creative way of communicating our message to the world.

How does this platform connect mobility of transportation and people with the Olympics?

The Olympic platform is providing us an opportunity to showcase that when people reach their ultimate goals, anything is possible. Mobility enables people to achieve their potential. We’re trying to draw parallels between the Olympics and Paralympics.

Everything we do is connecting them with the direction we’re taking in terms of mobility and showcasing that when you are free to move anything is possible.

What kinds of activities will we see up to the next round of Olympics?

We’ve developed an eight-year strategy. This is the first piece of communication on the marketing side. It’s an announcement piece showcasing characters, from one to 100, about overcoming adversity. It’s about showing the world that Toyota wants to be part of the fabric of communication to challenge people about starting the impossible.

The first phase will see the bulk of work coming to light between January and the end of March. The first piece is a taste of what’s to come.

Toyota Start Your Impossible boy

How does this support Toyota’s future-forward initiatives around mobility beyond the Olympics?

You’ll start to see more and more of the intent behind our future direction as part of our campaign. You’ll start to see parts of our mobility solution come to life as part of our campaign and as part of various other initiatives. The initial part is to signal a change and to communicate that we’re evolving as a company beyond pure automotive.

We’re looking for a range of options to improve mobility around the world. Most of our focus has been on automotive. We’ve evolved to global automotive company so we’re always about improving the mobility for all. and you’ll start to see the thinking and intent behind that future direction.

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