Tag Archives: Saatchi & Saatchi

The Best Global Auto Ads

Drum roll, please.

The One Club today revealed the best international auto advertising  during the press days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The non-profit group, dedicated to recognizing advertising creativity, honored winners of the Automotive Advertising of the Year Awards.


Fiat and its Brazilian shop Leo Burnett Tailor in Sao Paulo topped the print-outdoor category. Their winning campaign, dubbed “Letters,” carried the safety message, warning of the dangers of texting while driving. The stark ads showed letters of the alphabet and used the negative space around the letters for people or things a driver might not see while texting and driving.

FiatOneShowWinnerThe One Club received 550 entries for all categories, which were rated in two rounds on a scale of 1-to-10 by a panel of 50 creative directors and journalists, including myself. Judges were to consider the originality of the ads, whether the work moves the brand forward and whether it creates high brand recall. The One Club said near the end of the second and final round of judging that the scores of the 56 semi-finalists were “very close.”


Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in Japan bested the online video category with its 1:29 short film from Dentsu in Tokyo called “Sound of Honda/Ayrton Senna 1989.” The video honors Senna, the late, legendary F1 race car driver and his fastest lap in 1989, when he set the world record qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on the Suzuka circuit. Thanks to Honda in-vehicle technology, first introduced in the ’80s and used in Senna’s famous lap, the automaker was able to recreate that famous lap using engine sounds and LED lights at the Suzuki Circuit.

It may seem a big geeky, but it’s very cool.

Honda said it got more than 2 million views from Brazil, the US, Japan and the rest of world in just 2 months. Senna, a Brazilian, died 19 years ago after a crash during the San Marino Grand Prix. He drove a Honda-powered car for the Marlboro McLaren team in all 3 of his World Champion titles.

Last month, this video won the Grand Prize for the Entertainment Division of the 17th Japan Media Arts Festival.


BMW North America tied with Toyota Motor Sales USA’s Toyota Division in this category.

BMW wanted to build awareness for its upcoming, futuristic new i electric sub brand. BMWoneshowWinner2

Working with its agency, kbs+ in Manhattan, BMW created a digital storefront “Window Into the Near Future” at street level in New York City. As cars passed in the window’s reflection, they were turned into BMW’s i3 and plug-in hybrid BMW i8 concept vehicles.

Toyota wanted to show bust the misperception that its Tundra pickup wasn’t as tough as its rivals from Detroit. Toyota and its ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles, partnered in a unique opportunity – using the Tundra to tow the 300,000-pound Space Shuttle Endeavour to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Toyota got the word out with online videos and TV ads, which generated tons of news media coverage and social media buzz. Thousands of people lined the streets of Los Angeles to watch the pickup tow the shuttle a quarter-mile to the Science Center.

The Tundra Endeavour Campaign generated 131 million Twitter impressions, a billion unpaid media impressions and Tundra sales jumped by 31%. A Twitter drive raised more than $400,000 for the Science Center.


Hyundai Motor America found a way to spread the word about 2 new Elantra models, the Coupe and the GT. Hyundai’s ad agency, Innocean USA in Huntington Beach, California, created the “Driveway Decision Maker.”

Consumers could choose an Elantra to take on a virtual test drive through a colorful digital world and land in their own driveway. Using  Google Street View, people could also see the Elantra in front of any location in the world, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hyundai said the effort helped lift Elantra to the brand’s best-selling model.


Honda and Wieden+Kennedy in London hit another one out of the park in Europe with a clever corporate ad that showed off the company’s innovation and products.

The “Hands” film, aimed at the UK,  is simply a delight to watch and was one I highly praised here in AutoAdOpolis last September.

The film went viral and has already tallied more than 10-million views on You Tube.

People’s Choice

Nearly 20,000 visitors to The One Club’s site tapped Honda Motor Europe’s “Illusions” TV spot as Public Choice winner. Created by McGarryBowen in London, the ad for the launch of Honda’s CR-V 1.6 Diesel showed a montage of optical illusions to position the SUV as a big car experience with smaller car costs.

Bravo to all the winners!

Last year was the first year The One Club honored top car advertising during the press days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In 2012, the group presented awards to the top 10 ads from the prior 25 years.
MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Paul Edwards,  promoted at General Motors to VP of Chevrolet marketing in the US. Edwards, 44, had been executive director of GM’s global marketing since 2010. He joined GM in 1992 and succeeds Chris Perry, who resigned.
MAKING TRACKS II: Mike Jackson, has been named to the new role of president of Phelps, an independent, integrated marketing firm in Los Angeles. Among the stints during Jackson’s 30-year career in the ad business, was VP-marketing and advertising for GM in North America.
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Some Hits, Some Misses at Toyota Motor

 Toyota Motor Sales USA certainly seems to be rocking and rolling again after several years in the barrel.

The bleak years, lest we forget, were marked by massive recalls, embarrasing Congressional hearings, federal fines, red ink, then compounded by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Despite lots of dire predictions, the the sky didn’t crash in on the automaker. Toyota, Scion & Lexus are now back in favor with Americans.

The automaker reported selling 1.399 million Toyotas and Scions in the first 8 months of 2012 vs. just 1.07 million a year ago. Lexus sales were up almost 25% in the same period to 150,604 units.

That’s still not as good as the first 8 months of 2007, when the OEM sold 1.569 million Toyotas and Scions, plus 220,000 Lexus vehicles. To be fair the whole industry has been in a funk in the USA for several years. These days, Toyota Motor is motoring right along.

Over the years, the automaker’s advertising hasn’t been much to crow about. The three brands have sold lots of new vehicles IN SPITE of their so-so advertising. But there’s a couple of bright spots of late.

Let’s start with Lexus, which has used some of the most mind-numbing ads in the luxury car segment pretty much since this new century has started. That’s such a shame for the brand that bowed in the ’80s with some of the industry’s most memorable ads. Remember the champagne glasses balancing quietly on the idling car’s hood?

For the launch of the new 2013 ES and first ES Hybrid comes this gem, called “Split World”

Bravo! This commercial from longtime Lexus agency Team One is one of the best from the brand in a long time. It’s visually arresting, almost forcing you to watch. The montage portrays modernism, cool technology and luxury. And the whole premise actually make s sense: “Introducing a reason to look twice.” It’s not loaded with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo or list of features, which most people will just go online to find out anyway.

But Lexus isn’t quite out of the woods. How could a brand that got it so right with that spot get it so wrong with another ES launch commercial? Check this one out, dubbed “Future Unfolded”

Isn’t it amazing how different the two spots are? This one is simply lame. Lexus said this is one of 3 spots targeting African-Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT crowds. This commercial tries too hard to be cool and young- two words not readily associated with Lexus. Why are all those young folks inside the ES and dancing around it? One place the Lexus ES won’t be taking these hip people is to a night club. They are no where near in age to the actual Lexus owner base.

You can’t fool people about this either. One sharp YouTuber noted: “That’s funny…I didn’t see any old people” in this ad.

The scrip writing is forced in this commercial. especially this line from the narrator, actor Jim Remar, “with technology and style to match your achievements and desires.” Whoa! That’s quite lofty and presumptuous of Lexus to think it knows what people’s desires are. Those lines are just wasting time and space in the ad.

Lexus is taking a page from its younger cousin Scion with a social media push reaching out to start-up innovators, offering four of them each the chance to get $100,000 in seed money for their products. Voting is on a custom Facebook app.

The ES also becomes the first car with a brand page on mobile Flipboard. This is a smarter way to reach a younger audience.

OK. Let’s move onto the Toyota brand.

It’s been a while since Toyota has done any meaningful national advertising for its full-size Tundra pickup. Back in 2007, Toyota spent more that $100 million to launch the then-redone, more competitive Tundra in hopes of selling 200,000 that year. At the time that was Toyota’s biggest-ever launch.

But Tundra still takes a back seat to Detroit’s truck iron, selling only 65,600 Tundras in the first 8 months of 2012.

Toyota is beating the drums again for the pickup, starting with a multi-media push this month about how the Tundra will tow “an American icon live before the whole world” on Oct. 13.

Yup, the Tundra will haul the space shuttle Endeavour for the last leg of its trip from Los Angeles International Airport on city streets to the California Science Center. It’s a big deal since a stock, 1/2-ton, 2012 Tundra CrewMax will be used to tow the 145-ton shuttle.

Toyota’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, handled the deal with the Science Center to show off the Tundra’s toughness and towing abilities.

Here’s the promo, just one of lots of videos for the effort


Toyota is encouraging people to follow the Tundra’s adventure online at http://www.toyota.com/TundraEndeavour. People can sign up for e-mail updates. Toyota will donate $50 to the Science Center for every Tweet on Twitter about the tow.

There’s just one little detail that’s almost glossed over in Toyota’s hype about this feat. The pickup is only going to tow the space shuttle the last quarter mile of its 12-mile trip to the Science Center!!

Doesn’t all this hoopla seem a bit too much for that?

Meantime, the Toyota Division just announced it is dropped its “Moving Forward”  ad tag after 8 years. That’s great news! That line was nothing but a corporate-driven theme from on high that really had little to do with the brand. Not only that, it’s generic and could have been used for lots of car brands.

I’ll bet 9 out of 10 Americans could NOT identify “Moving Forward” as Toyota’s ad tag since 2004, even after millions of dollars of advertising. Get this: back in 2004, Toyota exec Jim Lentz admitted that the brand’s “Oh, what a feeling”  tag, which showed owners jumping for joy, had the most consumer awareness at the time. Makes you wonder why they dropped it in 1986 after 6 years.

Toyota’s new line, “Let’s Go Places,” will bow late this year.

Is it me or does that line also sound very generic and interchangeable with other car brands? Hey, it could also be used for an airline or online travel site for that matter.

Toyota Division’s Bill Fay, group VP-general manager, gave this reasoning, saying the new tag “speaks to the evolution of Toyota and our commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define.” He called the tag “energetic, aspirational, inclusive and very versatile” and added “the phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovations that enriches people’s lives.”


I’ll have what he’s having.

It would be better to have NO tag than one that isn’t directly relevant to your brand and only your brand.

But here’s something Toyota IS doing right.  lt has taken testimonial ads to a new level with its new Camry Effect blitz that includes this site at http:/toyota.com/camryeffect

Billed as “Real Owners. Real Stories,” the site is loaded with tons of great input from actual owners. The site has interesting factoids: 79% of Camry owners know how to change a tire and 82% prefer an automatic. Camry has some of the most loyal owners in the industry and millions of them.

Toyota actually introduced the “Camry Effect” social media site a year ago as part of the launch for the redone 2012 model. But back then, the site was more of a stand-alone, really just the digital part of the Camry’s multi-media launch. Toyota figured out earlier this year a better way to marry the fan site with its more traditional media. Here’s the latest TV spot that arrived this month

Testimonial ads are nothing new in car advertising, but THIS is smart advertising and sets the bar for the industry.

(This post appeared recently in CNW’s monthly, subscriber-only newsletter)

MAKING TRACKS: Congrats to Kathy Speck, who joined Chevrolet’s ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, as associate creative director. Chevy Runs Deep for Speck, who spent 26 years at Campbell-Ewald working as a creative on Chevrolet and other brands before she started doing work for McCann in 2011 as a freelance creative.

MORE TRACKS: General Motors moved Molly Peck back to Chevrolet as US ad director from the same post at Cadillac for about 18 months. We have high hopes for Peck, who oversaw Cadillac’s most interesting advertising in a few years – for the ATS launch. Before her move to Caddy last year, Peck was Chevy’s national ad manager for 4 years, but her experience at the bow-tie brand includes assistant brand manager of marketing for the now-defunct Cavalier.

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On Twitter: @jhal2001

Toyota to Parents: Don’t be Lame

Toyota pokes fun at parents- again- in the ad blitz to launch the revised 2011 Highlander.
The Big Idea from Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, California, centers around the theme: “Just because you’re parents, doesn’t mean you have to be lame.”
The line is delivered by a blond, eight-year-old named Nathan James, who shares tips on dealing with up-hip parents. He thinks his parents are dorky because they have a really, old minivan, which looks like an unbadged Chrysler, complete with fake wood trim. Hmm, wonder why they didn’t show a dorky, old Toyota Previa minivan.


Toyota made fun of parents in this year’s launch of the new Sienna minivan. But that campaign, which is still active, works because it’s so obviously tongue-in-cheek, calling the minivan the “swagger mobile.” The Sienna push always shows the same actors, a young couple with two young kids, and their non-adventures. But the parents are in the joke- not the butt of it.
Toyota says this Highlander blitz is aimed at parents with children between the ages of 7 and 12, and adds these kids “are easily embarrassed by their parents” and “the last thing they want is to be picked up from school in the old family hauler.”
I’m sure Toyota did their homework (translation: research) to end up at that target and conclusion. But for some kids, it’s not like the embarrassment stops at 12. It also seems like a small audience since it only covers kids in a six-year age range.
A dealer told me a number of years back that parents were bringing their kids into his showroom and they had a lot of sway about what their parents bought. This just floored me, since my parents never brought me to the showroom for my opinion when they were buying a new car. I walked to elementary school and later took the bus, so I never had to worry about any possible embarrassments about my parent’s cars, which I actually couldn’t wait to get my hands on to drive myself at the legal age.
I know times have changed, but this kid in the Highlander ads is just too smug. Have a look at the new Highlander videos on the automaker’s You Tube channel here

On the bright side, at least Toyota has gotten smarter – sticking to a single theme and actors and integrating it across all mediums for a single product. Not too many years back Toyota would have several totally different ads for the same model. At least this way you’ll know when you see “Nathan” what’s coming and you can take appropriate action.

But you’ll probably be seeing a lot of him, since he’ll be in every TV commercial airing during Modern Family, The Good Wife, The Big Bang Theory, plus Sunday and Monday Night Football. Toyota says it’s got integration in Top Chef, Bones, Parks and Recreation, In Plain Sight, and Mixed Signals. Little Nathan will be in print ads in TIME, People, Family Circle, Men’s Health, Real Simple, Parade, Sports Illustrated, More, Cooking Light and O the Oprah Magazine.
And this actor is hosting his own web series on Toyota’s You Tube channel in a late-show genre, interviewing family, friends and neighbors. Look for him hosting movie reviews on Fandango and a photo competition on Photobucket. He and/or his voice will be part of the entire campaign, complete with Nathan’s seal of approval on Toyota’s Highlander microsite here