Toyota's clever attempt to reach owners of "jailbroken" iPhones and other iOS devices via a Scion tC-theme posted on Cydia — an alternative appstore for the devices — garnered downloads and press attention for smart marketing. Now the campaign's gaining attention for completely caving to Apple. UPDATE.
It's estimated approximately 8-9% of iPhone users have jailbroken their device, giving them access to a broader range of apps and customization options with just a few simple steps. It's legal, but Apple's been notoriously against the practice and will not recognize jailbroken phones for support.
Given how many iDevices are out there, and given they have enough of a disposable income to spend on them and then throw away the service and warranty agreement, it's a huge market for automakers like Toyota trying to reach tech-obsessed consumers for certain vehicles like the Scion tC.
Advertising agency Velti developed a theme for the car and uploaded it to Cydia sometime in February, harming no one.
Unfortunately, press attention about how great an idea this was caused Apple to send a request to Toyota to shut it down. And they did, choosing to pull the theme in order to maintain its relationship with Apple, even though the automaker's entertainment center is Microsoft-powered.
In just a few days Toyota went from a large community of car-buying consumers giving them kudos to getting comments like this, posted on the Modmyi site:
"This is ridiculous... looks like even Toyota is Apple's b!tch."
So much for all that good will.
UPDATE: According to a Toyota spokesperson, the company was not requested by Apple to end the campaign:
At no point did Apple ask us to end/remove the "jailbreak" component of our campaign. The campaign ended at the end of March as scheduled. Overall it was a very interesting experiment that extended advertising to reach a new, unique audience.
We spoke with Kyle Matthews of the modmyi.com community, who broke the story, and he claims his website featured an advertisement link to something called "Scion 2011 Theme" that was an extension of Toyota's campaign through April 7th. "I had a check from Velti in my mailbox Monday when they called me to say cancel the campaign and remove the theme," says Matthews.