Toyota has just been named Advertising Age’s 2006 Marketer of the Year. Citing an appealing lineup of vehicle designs, advertising campaigns and promotional strategies that have made it a hit with American consumers, Advertising Age warns Detroit to keep an eye on its rearview mirrors. We would say to watch your side windows at this point. Toyota’s sales have continued to rise without the need for incentives and they even helped pull the entire industry out of a sales decline with additional help from Lexus and Scion. Strong product is only part of the equation, however. Even with great products, the wrong image can kill you.
Long accused of being a bit too conservative, Toyota finally let its hair down and even dropped trou for the first time in one of its ads. It greenlighted a TV commercial that showed a naked Corolla owner, albeit with private parts blurred. The Saatchi & Saatchi spot carried the “Moving forward” tag and was tied into Toyota’s NBA sponsorship, with its “Moving Forward Memories” vignettes airing during select NBA halftime shows on ESPN. For some of its most successful new models, Toyota didn’t even use TV advertising, relying on more clever placements instead.
The FJ Cruiser was trotted out at off-road events around the U.S. The Yaris was featured in mobile phone ads run during Fox’s “Prison Break” and was also used by Microsoft to launch the first driving game on its Xbox 360 Live Arcade. And then there was NASCAR. The trucks are still doing well, but the announcement of the Camry joining the American sedans in the Nextel Cup had Toyota on the tips of everyone’s tongues.
The list of reasons why Toyota was selected is longer than most sales contracts, so click on the read link for more info. [Advertising Age]