SYDNEY, Australia - Toyota Motor Corp. has begun a female-oriented campaign that employs the glitz of the fashion world.
The marketing effort, dubbed 'Toyota Women's Program,' is aimed at the 49 percent of Toyota's Australian customers who are female.
Louida Namo, Toyota communications manager, said the program presents Toyota vehicles in environments more appealing to women than the traditional dealerships and motor shows.
Toyota, the world's sixth-largest advertiser, spent $1 billion in 41 countries in 1998, according to Advertising Age International. It started the Australian campaign in women's fashion magazines by presenting its cars in advertorials designed to look like fashion spreads.
The copy and photography are written and styled by Vogue magazine staffers.
The Vogue connection extended to a promotion in which Toyota and the magazine teamed to introduce the new subcompact Toyota Echo with a fashion parade and party at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Toyota invited Australian fashion designers to create gowns inspired by the new car. Attendees included 100 Vogue readers who won their invitations by responding to a Toyota ad in the magazine. Toyota dealers also were included, and were encouraged to invite female customers.
'We need to be where the women are,' Namo said. 'Toyota has a huge skew of women who buy our vehicles.'
She said the models included in the Toyota Women's Program are not necessarily 'girls' cars.'
'Different cars will appeal to different people for different reasons,' Namo said, 'but certain cars are skewed toward females, and through this program we can put a bit more emphasis on them.'
In Australia, Toyota works with Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney.
Toyota also sponsors an Internet site aimed at mothers and has established an online Toyota Mothers Club. The club offers advice and forums on parenting and transportation.