Toyota's Phillips On How 3 Spots Brought On An Evolution

Mia Phillips, director-multicultural & brand strategy, Toyota, gave the morning keynote speech at Thursday’s Marketing:Automotive conference sponsored by MediaPost at the Javits Center in New York.

She told a rapt audience about the automaker’s evolving approach to marketing to the growing multicultural market. 

The automaker has always been a leader in multicultural marketing, she said, via agency partners Burrell, InterTrend and Conill (Saatchi & Saatchi is their lead agency, Zenith The ROI agency buys media.)

Toyota is the number one brand in all multicultural marketing —35% of sales come from multicultural market sales, per Phillips.

T2 Total Toyota was created to help the agencies better work together. Although it was not created as an excuse to save money, it has. It did not require a new business identity. All of the agencies  work together and retain staff.



The company realized it had an opportunity when a Toyota executive was watching an NBA game and saw three different spots for the Corolla launch -- three different spots built by three different agencies and media bought by three different media groups, Phillips noted.

Toyota had a multicultural challenge, she said; this wasn’t just about three TV spots, it was about something much bigger.

After the lunch break,’s Scotty Reiss led a panel discussion of how women and driving trends and innovations in the automotive realm. 

Jane Francisco, editor in chief of Good Housekeeping, and Rachel Nguyen, executive director of Nissan Future Lab, agreed that women and men have different approaches when it comes to buying vehicles. 

Women are incredibly well-researched consumers, the panelists agreed. 

“By the time a woman walks into a showroom, it’s really the dealer’s sale to lose,” Nguyen said.

Women are more emotionally driven when they purchase a vehicle. They think about how they are going to use a vehicle versus men, who are more seduced by design or the status elements of a vehicle, Reiss says.

Word of mouth is also a strong influencer on vehicle decisions, the panelists agreed. “Women listen to other women,” Nguyen noted.

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