TPS Kids

Modern marketing gurus will tell you that in order to build customer loyalty you need customers to develop a deep, emotional attachment to the brand. One of the ways this is done is by telling engaging stories about the brand. Toyota seems to have gotten this memo, and when it comes to building customer loyalty they’re starting young.
Toyota has built a kuruma kodomo site (Car Kids Site) which attempts to educate kids and future Toyota customers by in the sections called What kind of company is Toyota Motors?, How Are Automobiles Made?, Environmentally Friendly Automobiles Manufacturing and People Friendly Automobile Manufacturing.
There is information here that is interesting for kids aged six through thirty six, thanks to the off-beat humor in the animations in the How Are Automobiles Made? section. The yellow-faced alien is the child while the pale-faced aliens are meant to be Toyota new product development and planners. Here is a sample of the dialog from the Product Planning animation:
Planner (R side): The meeting is about to begin. Please take a seat.
Kid: What?
Planner (R side): We will begin the “What kind of car should we build?” meeting.
Planner (L side): Stand at attention. Bow. Be seated.
Planner (R side): Please report the results from your research on ideas for a new car.
Planner (L side): Yes. First, we investigated what kinds of cars are needed. Second, we investigated how cars are being used.
Kid: [thinks] They all have the same face…
Planner (L side): Then, we investigated popular trends and the lifestyles of our customers.
Planner (R side): What is the best kind of car, for the people who will use it?
Kid: [thinks] They have the same face…
Planner (middle): We have these results about people’s tastes.
Planner (R side): By the way, what is your opinion?
Kid: [nervous]
Planner (L side): You haven’t said a word yet.
Kid: [nervous]
Planner (middle): I would really like to hear your opinion.
Kid: [nervous] M.. may I ask a question?
Planner (L side): Please, please.
Kid: Why do you all have the same face?
Planner (R side): It’s true. Why do you have the same face as me?
Planner (middle): What about you? Why do you have my face?
Planner (L side): Which one is my real face? ^X@#!!?
Kid: [thinks] Didn’t they notice this before..?
Planner (R side): We will now begin the “Why do we all have the same face?” meeting.
Kid: [thinks] Enough already!!
There is a “virtual factory tour” here if you like this sort of animation. The following sequences are available for viewing, from planning through manufacturing and sales.
From top to bottom (ignoring the blue and green letters), the links to the animations are:
– Planning
– Design, Prototyping
– Various Testing
– Introduction
– Stamping
– Welding
– Painting
– Making engines & drive train
– Assembly
– Inspection
– Delivery
In this animation sequence, a small group of elementary or kindergarten students (rabbits + alien) come to tour the assembly line, only to switch places with the factory workers who decide that they want to do the tour themselves, leaving the TPS kids to work on the assembly line. What follows is a series of lessons in how the assembly line operates. See if you can understand what is going on.
The whole site is well done. I learned some things. The animations all have a humorous twist to them. I wonder if these were all approved by corporate PR? The humor is harmless, and aimed at children but certainly not common fare for a global industrial company.