VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) – Car dealerships usually focus on one thing- selling cars. But Valley Hi Toyota continuously shows why being an imperative part of the community is just as important. The Victorville dealership re-opened a brand new re-designed building in August 2017. To celebrate, Valley Hi Toyota held their first ever New Car Giveaway. In the past, they have given away 14 used vehicles, but this time the theme was New dealership equals New car. The vehicle? A New 2017 Toyota Yaris iA.
For 3 months, the Toyota dealership invited residents, passers-by, and visitors to make way to the new store to sign up filling a questionnaire on an iPad that literally took 2 minutes and 19 seconds to fill out. “We wanted to make it as simple as possible,” said Todd Stokes, General Manager at Valley Hi Toyota, “our goal was to just get our neighbors acclimated to the new store and to experience all the amenities we have.”
At the end of the contest, over 900 people were notified that they may be selected as one of the finalists via a pre-recorded message from Creative Director, Brian Ortega. “I started the message by saying ‘congratulations,’” he smiled, “but apparently a few people thought they had won the car and our dealership was flooded with phone calls. Guess they didn’t listen to the rest of the message.”
Valley Hi Toyota prides itself on using social media for just that purpose; being social, and sharing media. They rarely post stock images of cars whizzing down the road or slow motion videos of trucks kicking up dust. “Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for that, but from the beginning, we wanted our interactions with customers and friends to be fun, informative, and engaging,” said Stokes.
The New Car Giveaway coincided with the Holiday season. First, families were encouraged to visit together for Halloween. “We invited parents to sign up for the car, and children who dressed in their costumes had a chance to win gift cards,” said Ortega. “Next, for Thanksgiving, we gave away 10 turkeys LIVE on Facebook and encouraged people to sign up for the car. Finally, we had our very own in-house 5 Days of Christmas event online that was a total hint.”
For five days, every hour, on the hour between 10am and 2pm Brian went Live on the Valley Hi Toyota Facebook page where 25 finalists were selected and invited back to the dealership to potentially win the 2017 Toyota iA. “It was crazy but so much fun. We gave away prizes to live viewers who didn’t enter the giveaway, they were just excited to see someone have the opportunity to win – we have a great community of fans.”
In addition to prizes, Valley Hi Toyota entertained viewers with Christmas carols sung by an employee of the High Desert Toyota dealership, Frank Ingram. Mr. Ingram sang The Christmas, Mary, Did You Know, and This Christmas. “The reception was joyous and the watchers even nicknamed him Mr. Smooth; we had our very own Christmas Variety Show” laughed Ortega.
Social Media, especially Facebook is an integral part of Valley Hi Toyota’s efforts to focus on community involvement. “In 2018, we’re going to implement more avenues of reaching, teaching, and informing the public,” said Stokes. “In fact, we create the giveaway videos because, in part, a lot of people don’t believe we actually give the cars away. It’s video proof!”
On December 14, the Finalists were treated with delicious tri-tip and pulled pork provided by Car-B-Q Events, where a Cadillac was converted to a grill and smoker. Once again the finalists were randomly selected to spin a wheel where one spot was designated as the “CAR WINNER.” All of them received a gift, an Amazon Echo Dot. On the bottom of the Echo was a number indicating the order in which they would spin.
“I don’t know another other business that goes to such lengths to make giveaways so engaging,” said Rosa Gomez, one of the finalists. “I thank Valley Hi Toyota for doing this for the community.
When it was time for the spinning, Valley Hi Toyota went Live on Facebook where over 100 people watched lived and thousands watched the replay of 18 unsuccessful spinners who were so close to driving home that night in a new Toyota.
“We love the interaction and support of viewers posting live comments like, “good luck,” “that’s my friend,” “this is so cool to watch,” and more.
It was then 19-year-old, sophomore Victor Valley College student, Reinhard Edward’s turn to spin the wheel. The part-time work-study librarian who’s ambition is to become an aerospace engineer attributes his signing up to his mother. “My mother was the one who had to drag me to come over (to the dealership) saying, ‘you gotta at least try, you stand a better chance of winning by trying than by not signing up at all.”
Edward spun the wheel with confidence and strength. Eight seconds later the wheel landed and stopped on the winning spot. Edward pumped his fists in the air as the others gasped in awe and heartbreak at the same time. A high-five to Santa Todd and a “yeah, baby” summed up his emotions. The guests then cheered along as they saw the sheer excitement on his face as he stomped his way to sit in his new car.
“This is what it’s about,” said Stokes, “everyone has an intriguing story and Reinhard proves just that. A dedicated student riding the bus to college now has the ability to help his family out and also focus on his ambitious career path. It’s amazing. That’s why we do things like this, and we’re going to do more!”
Valley Hi Toyota will resume giving away used cars in 2018 once they hit 16,000 likes on Facebook. A group page will also be introduced with how-to videos, specials, and of course more Live Events. They are also on Instagram @valleyhitoyota and have many videos on their YouTube page. Watch the Holiday commercial HERE.