Brands that survive in the "new normal" will, like the Boy Scouts (but without having to tie the knots) be perceived as reliable, fair, steadfast and trustworthy. No surprise, therefore, that Toyota Motor Sales has launched a new ad campaign that seeks to reinforce the link consumers have been making for years between the brand and those very virtues.
The effort, via long-time U.S. consumer ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, LA, focuses on Toyota as a product leader that excels in dependability, quality, reliability, efficiency, safety, and innovation.
The "Product Leadership" campaign doesn't feature engineers, crash-test dummies, or futurist elements. Rather, the ads show people in situations that reveal their insecurities about things like protecting their kids or having their house renovated and finding out that quality didn't go in with the new plumbing.
One spot trumpeting Toyota's safety reputation has a mom gearing up her kid with football helmet, mouth guard and a combination of hockey, motocross, football and baseball body armor ... for a game of tennis. "No other automaker has won more top safety pick awards than Toyota. So it's okay to be overprotective."
Another of the TV spots touting Toyota for quality has a guy driving up to his under-renovation house in a Toyota RAV 4. The workers greet him, oblivious to the fact that they have done an incredibly shoddy job.
Mark Turner, chief strategy officer for Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, tells Marketing Daily that the campaign is intended to be empathetic. "Over the past 12 months, consumers have gone through massive changes; simply put, people are far more discerning about how they spend money, and they are expecting a lot more from what they buy."
He said the campaign is, in effect, the first multi-vehicle campaign in years. "This was a wonderful opportunity to re-establish leadership in core values that resonate today, that Toyota is built on quality, reliability and fuel efficiency."
Turner says the larger issue is that trust and authenticity have become much more important since the economy tanked last year. "This is the age of authenticity; brands have to behave transparently and need to remain true. And all of these qualities we are representing reinforce that we are a brand that can be trusted and relied upon," he says.
The six 15-second and three 30-second TV spots break this week on network, cable and sports channels. There are also print, out-of-home, and interactive elements. The TV spots will run on premieres of shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters."
Third-party endorsements from the likes of R.L. Polk, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration and AutoPacific are central to the ads. Among the assertions in the spots are that Toyota is rated the highest in dependability among all automakers; Toyota has won more Total Quality Awards than any other automaker; 80% of Toyotas sold in the last 20 years are still on the road today; and Toyota is the most fuel-efficient full-line automaker today.
Turner says the ads are integrated with deep online media buys for ads demonstrating and expanding upon the claims made in the TV spots.