Companies are keeping a close eye on the jailbreaking community as at least one big brand demonstrates willingness to advertise on Cydia, the unofficial store for unsanctioned third-party programs which can be installed on jailbroken iPhones, iPods and iPads. Car manufacturer Toyota is reportedly running adverts in the Cydia store (through ModmyI) to promote their iPhone user interface theme, also distributed through the store. The adverts and the theme are part of Toyota’s advertising campaign for the 2011 Scion tC vehicle.

The said sports coupe made a splash when it was unveiled last month. It was the first major redesign of the vehicle and it came with a more powerful engine. Deciding to target millions of people who jailbreak their iOS gadgets, Toyota reached out to the people behind Cydia (ModMyI) to buy ad slots in the storefront app. The news came from Kyle Matthews, the founder of ModMyi ( read the post):

Scion, a brand of vehicles manufactured by Toyota, recently developed a custom iPhone theme specifically for jailbroken devices, submitting it to us for hosting in Cydia (full disclosure: they are also running an ad campaign through ModMyi.com within Cydia pointing to said theme, and this article is unrelated to that). This is the first major corporation we have seen put direct positive attention into the jailbreak scene, developing specifically for it and addressing this large userbase. Could this be a turning of the tide for the previously “outlaw” jailbreak community?

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If you have a jailbroken device, search for “Scion 2011 Theme” in Cydia. The Cydia store has about 1.5 million unique users each day, Kyle wrote, which is about ten percent of up to 15 million jailbroken devices representing approximately nine percent of all iOS devices sold.

I can imagine Apple won’t be too happy about a potential iAd partner spending their ad money on a platform they don’t control.

As you know, Apple pitched its iAd platform to the biggest brands, including car maker Nissan.

Nissan permitted Steve Jobs to showcase the work-in-progress iAd for the Leaf electric vehicle (seen below) months before Apple officially flipped the switch on iAds in July of last year. While Toyota’s advertising on Cydia certainly doesn’t compare to iAd campaigns (which reportedly start out at $500,000), it’s a sign that at least some big advertisers are taking notice and including Cydia in their media buying plans. Will more advertisers follow suit and experiment with Cydia ads?

UPDATE [April 4, 2011, 1:50pm Pacific]
Cydia creator Jay Freeman a.k.a. Saurik informed us in the comment section that Cydia did not cut a sponsorship deal with Toyota. We were also able to confirm that the adverts pointing to said theme were running through ModMyi.com WITHIN the Cydia app. Here’s what Saurik told us:

To be clear, this article states that “Cydia lands advertising deal”, which is misleading. If there is an “advertising deal” (I am not certain there is; I have only heard of an official posted theme), it is between ModMyi and Velti (the advertising agency used by Toyota), not between Cydia and Toyota.

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