Like any company with a multi-million dollar sponsorship budget, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. is constantly adjusting its sponsorship portfolio.

And 2015 is no different.

The auto giant, which focuses on four national platforms—action sports, endurance sports, music festivals and fishing tournaments—this year added the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and Nocturnal Wonderland music festival to its growing sponsorship portfolio.

Also on the music front, Toyota returned to the Life is Beautiful music festival and Voodoo Experience after a two-year hiatus.

The automaker partnered with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series to reach a broad audience, with a focus on women.

“The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series reaches a large number of athletes, many of them women, which is a high priority market,” said Steve Appelbaum, national manager, engagement marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

The sponsorship affords status as the official vehicle of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Concert Series, the latter of which supports Toyota’s music platform.

“The intersection of music and fitness is a great place for Toyota to be, and aligns well with our mantra of “Let’s Go Places.”

The automaker is using the partnership to promote the Toyota RAV4, Highlander and Sienna, all of which are targeted at active females.

“The RAV4 is perfect for millennials, the Highlander Hybrid is great for 30-year-olds, while the Sienna is suited for soccer moms,” said John Smith, senior vice president at The Competitor Group, which owns the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

Toyota activates the partnership by encouraging people to get inside the vehicles. For example, the automaker has converted a Sienna minivan into a photo booth where attendees can receive a digital photo in exchange for their email address. Attendees also are entered into a sweeps dangling a trip to a future Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event.

In addition, Toyota offers attendees the opportunity to drive one of the vehicles in exchange for a hat, T-shirt or other item at the race expo store.

“We want to encourage people to experience the vehicles and put them on their consideration list,” said Robert Flanigan, associate director of brand integration with Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota’s agency of record for national advertising.

Toyota also leverages the sponsorship to reward current customers. The company distributes branded flip-flips and phone chargers to attendees who show a Toyota vehicle key at the race expo. It also offers race participants the opportunity to pick up their race bib at the Toyota booth to avoid long registration lines.

In keeping with the marathon’s thematic, Toyota offers each runner a custom seven-inch single that features the runner’s name, the date of the race and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series logo.

Music Strategy Focuses On Multi-Day Festivals
Toyota in 2007 launched its music sponsorship strategy, with a focus on national music festivals that offer extended on-and off-site reach.

The company sponsors a mix of country, alternative and EDM festivals including Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Stagecoach (powered by Toyota).

“Over the last eight years Toyota has successfully engaged consumers at country and mainstream alternative rock music festivals. The passion for both live music and cultural experiences of the attendees creates an atmosphere that makes them receptive to exploring Toyota’s brand,” said Appelbaum.

Multi-day festivals give Toyota “extensive opportunities for fans to wander, explore and interact with the brand,” he said.

Toyota switches up vehicle displays at each event depending on the festival audience. The company showcased the Tundra pickup at the Stagecoach country music festival, while it featured the Corolla and Prius at the Lollapalooza music fest.

Toyota sponsors action sports to engage millennials. Ties include the Dew Tour, Nitro Circus, X-Games and Monster Energy AMA Supercross, the latter of which Toyota renewed in late 2014 for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The 2016 season will mark the 10th consecutive year that Toyota has sponsored the supercross series.