When Toyota concepted and designed the new FJ Cruiser, they built a vehicle that referenced the brand's long history of building capable, functional, and visually iconic off road trucks. The FJ was originally intended to be a small production truck and the marketing was targeted to off road enthusiasts. Part of developing the new FJ's legitimacy included putting it in real life hard working environments that highlight it's off the line capability as well as it's easy to modify nature.

When Toyota gave a TRD edition FJ to rally racing's legendary Rod Millen to race in the Baja 1000, we knew that we had a unique opportunity on our hands. Rod still holds the Pike's Peak record, holds a number of Baja places and is the eponymous founder of MillenWorks in Tustin, one of the greatest racing engineering shops on the planet. Rod was running the 1000 with his youngest son, Ryan, as the second driver and a story started to develop as the passing of the torch from father to son. We partnered with Radical Media and Speed Channel to shoot a :45 minute documentary covering the building of the truck into a race ready vehicle all the way through the finish line in La Paz.

However, what we quickly realized is that great racers and engineers do not always make for the most interesting on camera talent. Cut to Kevin Necessary, a professional photographer and amateur off road racer. Actually, amateur is generous. Kevin had zero experience with off road racing, but when he decided to convert his FJ daily driver to be his Baja 1000 racer we knew that we had a great counterpoint to our Millen story.

2 Roads to Baja ended up being a story that was shot over the course of several months. We embedded cameras with them as the Millen and Necessary teams built their trucks, tested them, trained, and finally ran the 1,000 mile race from Ensenada all the way to La Paz. In addition to the documentary that aired on Speed, we created over 72 pieces of online content that we posted on Toyota.com and enthusiast sites. Because the two teams were so different, we were able to give different perspectives of the race experience as well as factual technical information that was of interest to hard core enthusiasts.

The online blog chatter about the web pieces increased interest in the show, which helped drive traffic to the OnDemand video, which resulted in over 600,000 downloads of the documentary, all while cementing the FJ's reputation as one of the most capable off the line vehicles available to the consumer market. And, of course, we shot awesome off road dirt porn from a helicopter.


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