Bikini Bottom is mobile, thanks to a deal developed by Toyota’s branded entertainment agency, Brand Arc, in collaboration with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA. The partnership elevates Toyota’s existing relationship with Nickelodeon property SpongeBob SquarePants and Brand Arc’s strategic interest in integrating the new Toyota Highlander into the popular Animal Planet show Tanked. The result: a functioning SpongeBob Highlander fish tank, featured in the March 7 season premiere. (The episode will have an encore performance Friday, March 14, at 9 p.m.)
Brand Arc chose Tanked for the unique opportunity to increase awareness of the new Highlander’s roominess and stylized exterior and interior design. Tanked’s Wayde King and Brett Raymer transformed a 2014 Highlander into a 9,000-pound rolling saltwater aquarium filled with SpongeBob, Patrick and their pals — 32 species of fish. The challenge came from Jack Hollis, vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., who stated his mission and the duo’s assignment on the show: Make a splash with the vehicle at SEMA’s auto convention in Las Vegas in November. The episode captured the building process and the big SEMA Show reveal, as seen in this clip at the Animal Planet Website.
In the weeks leading up to the episode’s premiere, Brand Arc took over Toyota’s social media space to start conversations about the SpongeBob Highlander. Teaser messages, behind-the-scenes photos of King and Raymer visiting Toyota’s Torrance headquarters to meet with Hollis, the vehicle’s transformation and the SEMA Show unveiling were posted and then shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“Collaborating across networks is a challenge but can reap positive results,” said Mike Davis, chief operating officer of Brand Arc. “Combining assets from Animal Planet and Nickelodeon produced engaging and effective branded content for Toyota in the broadcast, digital and social arenas.”
The 2014 SpongeBob Highlander Tanked Edition created anticipation for the vehicle in the prelaunch phase and generated social communication and online interaction during the SEMA Show as well as other auto shows.