Meet Toyota’s new TV pitch woman: Hatsune Miku, a young Japanese singer who has been extremely popular in her homeland. She’s also a computer-generated anime character.
Miku, a 3D computer-generated persona created by Cypton Future Media, is typical of Japanese animated (anime) women. Her ankle-length ponytails and singing voice–composed of real voices processed through synthesizer software–are staples among anime fans. And last year, Japanese audiences flocked to her sold-out concerts, where Miku is projected on a stage in front of a live band. (See the second video embedded below.)
Toyota has turned to the virtual pop idol as pitch person for the company’s 2011 Corolla. The reason? Both “have two very important things in common — big dreams in a compact package,” according to Toyota’s website.
But how will Miku play in the U.S. market where Japanese anime is still largely perceived as fodder for kids and geeky Japanophiles? A Toyota spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal:
Even if she is unfamiliar to some, the story of the character, her music and her dedicated fans are intriguing and in parallel with the storied history of the Toyota Corolla.
According to the Journal, Toyota’s TV commercials with Miko (see video below) will air on Asian-language stations in the U.S. and the company has no plans to expand the campaign beyond the Asian-American community.
Hatsune Miku and 2011 Toyota Corolla [Toyota]
Toyota’s New U.S. Saleswoman: Virtual Idol Hatsune Miku [Wall Street Journal]