LOS ANGELES - Toyota Division is studying whether to continue its 'Everyday' tag line and image advertising past the 1999 model year.
Although Toyota executives said the campaign has done well to advance the Toyota brand, the 2000 model year is filled with new products that might warrant a different approach. A decision will be made in the next 30 to 60 days.
'We're going down some new roads with small, sporty, affordable cars and also the launch of a legitimate full-sized truck, so there are some new audiences we're speaking with,' said David Pelliccioni, Toyota Division vice president of marketing.
'We also want to expand our Camry and Corolla business, so we have a lot of tasks to take care of. This would be the year (to change),' he added.
A Toyota source said Toyota wants to move back toward more product-specific advertising and away from storytelling. He said that while the existing Tacoma ads that show the truck's versatility work well, the Corolla ad that portrays a baby soiling its diaper in the back seat does not.
Possibly forcing Toyota's hand is that it has the rights to the Sly and the Family Stone song 'Everyday People' only through September. Toyota has the option to renew the contract, but the timing of the contract ending could be key.
The potential creative change comes on the heels of Toyota losing two of its top account executives from ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
Joe McDonagh, Saatchi's executive creative director and the creative force behind the 'Everyday' campaign, left Saatchi for Ogilvy & Mather's Los Angeles office. Also leaving Saatchi was creative director Cameron Day, who took a similar position with GSD&M in Austin, Texas.
When the 'Everyday' campaign was launched, Toyota took some barbs from ad critics and grammarians who noted that the slogan should have been 'Every Day' to connote reliability, as opposed to 'Everyday,' which implies commonplace.
Toyota has been battling Honda and other makes to counter its stodgy image. Perhaps one reason to end the campaign is that the theme song comes from the 1960s, when baby boomers were coming of age, and does not have much connection to the younger audience Toyota is eager to reach.
The 'Everyday' campaign has succeeded in getting Toyota's message across, Pelliccioni said.
'Not many other car companies can say that your vehicle will be there for you every day, and have that quality, dependability and reliability that no one can take away,' he said.
Toyota sales in the United States rose 6.4 percent in calendar 1998, compared with a 2.9 percent industrywide increase.
Pelliccioni said customer awareness connecting Toyota with the 'Everyday' theme is high, so Toyota might not want to abandon the idea.
But it would not be the first time Toyota has dumped a successful campaign: It walked away from its highly regarded 'I love what you do for me' theme to create 'Everyday.'