Hold Page One: Dentsu, Not Zenith, Handles Toyota's Front Page Buy

When The Wall Street Journal begins running ads on its front page for automakers General Motors and Toyota next week it will mark an industry first. But the planning and buying that went into the Toyota deal also marks something new for that client: who handles its media. Instead of its well-known North American media shop, Publicis' Zenith Media unit, Toyota turned to Dentsu of America, the fledgling U.S. outpost of Japan's advertising powerhouse, which handled the purchase of the financial daily's front-page real estate.

The Toyota campaign debuts next Wednesday, Sept. 6, and will appear there every Wednesday for more than a year, according to the agency source. The Toyota campaign also will eschew brand advertising and instead will feature public-service messages about safe driving.

Another automaker, General Motors, will advertise Fridays in the space, confirms a GM rep. Its media agency, Starcom MediaVest Group's GM Planworks unit, handled that deal.



Media buyers estimate the front-page buys at WSJ cost a minimum of $75,000 and require a 15-month, or nearly $5 million dollar commitment.

Representatives for Zenith were not available for comment at press time. A Dentsu spokesperson declined to comment, as did The Wall Street Journal's.

While the WSJ deal may be its most visible media deal yet, Dentsu has quietly be handling a variety of Toyota assignments in the U.S. Last year, Dentsu of America developed a communications campaign for Toyota that highlighted the car company's commitment and contribution to the U.S. economy and its communities. Its aim was to raise Americans' awareness of Toyota's operations in the United States.

In Sept. 2005, the Journal's Money & Investing section began featuring an ad on its front page. In October, the newspaper's Asian and European editions began running front-page ads. Since then, the U.S. edition has added ads on the front page of its Marketplace section.

In July 2006, a Journal article announcing the advertising opportunity described a pair of front-page advertising options: a "jewel box" space in the lower right-hand corner, or a "banner" running along the bottom of the page. If Toyota's A-1 front-page ad is the same size as the Money & Investing and Marketplace, it will be approximately 5½ inches by 7½ inches.

The Journal joins USA Today and The Financial Times as high-profile newspapers that now accept advertising on their front page.

According to Advertising Age's annual industry report, Dentsu is the world's fifth-largest marketing-communications holding company, with $2.9 billion in revenues, and is Japan's largest. The vast majority of Dentsu's revenues come from Japan, but it has offices in 27 countries. It started in 1901 as a news service, and has evolved over the past century into a media conglomerate that includes research, public relations, music publishing, film and other divisions.

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