Toyota's new ad campaign is blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Since December 2012, the car brand and their agency of record, Saatchi & Saatchi LA, have featured "Jan" as a trusted, friendly, and engaging receptionist who helps a rotating group of interested drivers inside the Toyota dealership. One ad, for instance, features overprotective parents seeking a minivan. Another ad showcases a woman with the perfect boyfriend who rescues puppies.
Now, "Jan" is pregnant. After the actor who plays Jan, Laurel Coppock, announced she was expecting, Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi LA Toyota decided against hiding the pregnancy or writing Jan out of the campaign. Instead, the agency and car brand felt that there was a natural opportunity to integrate Coppock’s pregnancy into the “Jan” storyline in such a way that was true to her character.
The first spot to showcase the pregnancy will debut before Mother's Day and run across TV, radio, digital, and organic social media. Then, the follow-up spot will debut in August.
It is understandable that Toyota wanted to continue with its successful Jan campaign. The effort was conceived after Toyota spent two years speaking with 5,000 customers through a combination of focus groups and large-scale studies to understand what consumers want in car ads. Then, they met with some 500 actors before selecting their perfect "Jan."
Now, Toyota and Saatchi expect this baby to infuse new life into the campaign. "We think Jan might be leaning towards Camry or Sienna, but would be open to hearing name suggestions from our extended Toyota family," a Toyota rep said.