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Toyota Prius iPhone App lets you draw on Times Square

Back in August Toyota released the Prius Experience iPhone app that let you take a 360 degree tour the Prius interior, take a photo of a Prius ad to get a augmented reality version of the ad or draw shapes that will be added to the Prius environment. You are prompted to “draw a tree” but you can draw anything you want but i has to be done with a single continuous movement. That drawing them populates the landscape behind the Prius as it drives along. This week the app gives you a chance to move those interactive elements from your iPhone screen to the Reuters board in Times Square. The creations are updated on the live displays in realtime throughout the day and you can check it out via the livecams on the Times Square web site. When I tried it I got a warning that because of high volume, all artwork might not be displayed and that drawings will go up in the order in which they were received. I think this is a well worded cover for the their behind the scenes approval process which obvious is in place as I haven’t seen anything obscene go rolling across the screen.

I can see how they are trying to pull everything together with the campaign theme of “Harmony Between Man, Nature and Machine” and the play between the app and the Times Square board is an interesting twist but it is done on an old execution (the Nationwide Insurance ‘Life Comes At You Fast’ Times Square site I worked on launched 4 1/2 years ago). In the end the app as a whole falls short because it feels like a collection of the latest techniques that never really come together to make anything really conceptually or executionaly breakthrough. The Times Square functionality is still live so you can download the app now and decide for yourself if ti makes you want to buy a Prius.

1 Comment

  1. rnadworny

    November 4, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Good post Stephen. Here’s something else that falls short: While Toyota is trying to attract iPhone and iPod owners, the Prius only has built in iPhone connectivity in the upper two premium models. The Prius II or III lack even a USB port. Of course, you can always buy a iPod connectivity set for the Prius for $250, which is more than I paid for my iPhone!
    Sigh (from a new and only slightly disappointed Prius III owner)

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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