In the days leading up to the super bowl, Twitter users were spammed by a whole army of Toyota’s verified Twitter accounts. Users who tweeted anything in regards to the big game, especially with hashtags of #Giants, or #Patriots, were sent a reply by one of Toyota’s Camry Effect Accounts, informing that person about the contest. Even unsuspecting Twitter users were spammed; those who never even mentioned the Super Bowl.
Eventually, after many complaints, all but one of the Camry Effect accounts were suspended, and the remaining account was then switched to Private, making last night’s tweets only available to those that Toyota allow.
Later, Kimberley Gardiner, Toyota’s social media manager commented on the situation. “We apologize to anyone in the Twitter-verse who received an unwanted @reply over the past few days. We were excited to share the message of our Camry Effect campaign in a new way and it was never our intention to displease anyone. We’ve certainly learned from this experience and have suspended the accounts effective immediately to avoid any additional issues.”
Toyota is taking the blame, although it’s not entirely clear the automaker was in full control. Toyota employs the services of ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi, which in turn sub-contracts some of its work to social media marketing agency known as American Pop. A representative of American Pop has contacted AutoGuide to distance itself from the campaign, however, with Gipson Bachman, the Director of Digital Strategy commenting that, “our company was not responsible for the tweets you received from Toyota’s efforts…”
Toyota will be launching a “Shazam Campaign” similar to that of The Camry Effect with the 2013 Lexus GS. The idea is that while watching TV, viewers can use the Shazam app on their mobile phone to gain extra TV content, media on the Lexus GS, and a chance to win “a custom travel package.” Hopefully, there will be less reliance on spamming twitter this time around.