Amid attacks on its corporate image, Toyota's new advertising campaign seeks to build a stronger emotional connection with U.S. consumers.
The national campaign — called "Why Not?" — is the largest of its kind that Toyota has launched in the United States. It features three themes: environmental commitment, economic investment and social responsibility.
Toyota declined to discuss spending, but industry observers say the campaign is likely to cost the automaker more than the $40 million that TNS Media Intelligence says Toyota spent on corporate advertising in U.S. media in 2006.
On the defensive
Toyota hopes the campaign will give Americans a better sense of its corporate vision, says Steve Sturm, group vice president for strategic research and planning and corporate communications at Toyota Motor North America Inc. The campaign encompasses broadcast, print and online ads.
In recent months, Toyota has found itself on the defensive. Environmental groups have attacked Toyota's support of a smaller increase in federal fuel economy. At the same time, Consumer Reports removed Toyota from its once-automatic spot on the magazine's annual list of "recommended" vehicles.