Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is juicing up its advertising.
New commercials for its core products, the Camry and Corolla, reveal 'the expected and unexpected' in product attributes, according to Steve Sturm, vice president of marketing. The commercials broke Monday, Sept. 20, on national network and cable as well as spot TV.
The new campaign for the company's bread-and-butter cars tries to add performance and sensual, appealing styling to their long-standing image of quality, reliability and dependability. With the debut of Toyota's all-new Echo, aimed at the youth market, the carmaker wants to attract older buyers to the Corolla.
The median age of Corolla buyers is 44.
'But there's a lot of polarization of buyers' who are older and younger, Sturm said.
For example, 39 percent are over 50, and 35 percent are under 35. The Camry doesn't have that sort of polarization, with more buyers closer to the median age of 49.
One of two new Camry commercials from Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles depicts the car as sexy. Singer Richard Fairbrass of the band Right Said Fred, who recorded 'I'm Too Sexy' in the early 1990s, sings a new version about the styling of the 2000 model. It ends with 'You're Styling. Every Day' in the previously reported evolution of Toyota's 'Everyday' tag line.
Saatchi touts the Corolla's new, standard, more powerful engine in one of two new spots for the car. It shows a small 'army' of animated ants willing to cross a road because the approaching car is 'only a Corolla.' But the car knocks them off their feet. 'It's more powerful than you think,' the narrator says. The tag is 'Charging Ahead. Every Day.'
Scott Gilbert, CEO of Saatchi Los Angeles, said 'Toyota isn't taking itself as seriously' in the 2000-model spots. The ads accentuate the products more than in prior years, when the Toyota brand was highlighted.
The carmaker is 'taking a lesson from Mercedes-Benz' by poking fun at itself and trying to remove some of its stodgy image, said Jim Hall, vice president of industry analysis at consulting firm AutoPacific Inc.'s Southfield, Mich., office.
Mercedes changed its advertising stance earlier this decade to make its brand more approachable.
Toyota has the right strategy to expand its bulletproof reliability, said Philippe Defechereux, president of auto marketing consulting firm PhD & Associates in New York. But Toyota needs to decide what dimension of excitement it wants to pursue - performance, sexy, hip or fashionable - then consistently hit on that trait, he said.
Saatchi tapped two other celebrities to narrate commercials for other vehicles. Actress Dana Delany of defunct TV series 'China Beach' narrates the sole Sienna minivan spot, touting safety. Actor Bruce Willis narrates the new spot for the Tundra full-sized pickup, plugging its best-in-class attributes.