Hardly a day goes by without someone announcing another journey that will see the protagonists walk/run/bike/kayak/forward roll the length of New Zealand to raise awareness for something (StopPress is considering driving half the length of New Zealand to raise money for McDonald's). And, to celebrate 60 years of Land Cruiser, Toyota is getting on the bandwagon, taking the newly launched FJ Cruiser truck on an epic journey. But the difference with this journey is that it will all be done off-road, with Marc Ellis bouncing around in the driver's seat.
‘Top to Bottom…Off road’ launched on Breakfast TV and rolled out across on and off line media this week, although, as the NBR pointed out, the phrase 'top to bottom' leads to some rather sexy search results not typically associated with Toyota when typed into Google.
Ellis and the team will set off from Cape Reinga on 21 February, down 90-mile beach and finish in Bluff, with the vehicle roughly heading south on the North Island’s western side as far as Taranaki, traversing the island to Hawke’s Bay, then heading to Wellington and venturing through the centre of the South Island high country and the heart of Otago.
“We expect to take 16 days of driving to reach the southern tip via seven public checkpoints, but who knows what will happen? That’s whats fun and engaging about live ideas like this and why we genuinely want Kiwis to help," says Saatchi & Saatchi group account director Mark Cochrane.
Ellis has been challenged to only use back country roads, farm trails and tracks. And if he has to go on tar seal, he has to earn credits by overcoming some on-the-go challenges voted on by the online community. Punters can keep up with the journey on the website and all those that offer route suggestions or other assistance will go in the draw to win a perfectly restored original FJ40.
“In many ways, this trip reflects the Kiwi spirit of giving things a go. Toyota believes ‘if you dream it, you can do it’, and we’d like New Zealanders the length of the country to help us make the dream a reality," says Toyota's general manager of marketing, Neeraj Lala.
Lala says the development of the idea was a truly collaborative process, with all agencies (Saatchi & Saatchi Auckland, Leftfield productions, Aim Proximity Wellington, Wright Communications, Starcom, TVNZ and TRN) working together to pull it off.