Toyota gives virtual idol Hatsune Miku a lift in U.S. debut

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Toyota Motor Corp. is featuring virtual singing idol Hatsune Miku in a sales campaign aimed at the U.S. market, a move that is likely to raise the character’s profile overseas, the company’s U.S. sales arm said.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), which handles sales and marketing for the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands in the United States, has launched a promotion featuring the computer-generated singer.
The virtual idol was chosen to attract Asian-Americans and fans of anime and manga to the latest Toyota Corolla models.

Hatsune Miku is a female character that represents a singing software application developed by Crypton Future Media Inc. and based on Yamaha Corp.’s Vocaloid 2 synthesizing technology. She resembles a manga character with large eyes and long, blue pigtails.

On May 5, a promo video ad featuring Hatsune Miku driving a new Corolla through Los Angeles to get to her downtown concert venue was released on U.S. Toyota’s official YouTube channel. It was viewed at least 500,000 times in the first three days.

The clip hints at the next promo event, which TMS announced May 13. TMS is sponsoring Hatsune Miku’s first “live” concert in the United States, to be held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on July 2.

The concert will be a highlight of Anime Expo 2011, which runs July 1-4 at the neighboring Los Angeles Convention Center. Hatsune Miku will take the stage–as a 3-D holographic projection–to perform her songs.

Hatsune Miku will also be the first Virtual Guest of Honor at the annual Anime Expo, which is devoted to Japanese anime and manga and attracts more than 100,000 visitors.

The concert is jointly presented by the expo host, the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, Crypton Future Media, Sega Corp., Ascii Media Works Inc. and TMS.

“Toyota maintains a constant pulse on global trends and influences,” Bob Zeinstra, national manager, advertising and strategic planning for TMS, said May 13. He added the company is excited to have a chance to help Hatsume Miku in her U.S. debut.

View the video at (http://www.toyota.com/corollamiku/).
Visit Anime Expo’s official website at (http://www.anime-expo.org/).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.