RiechesBaird, Toyota Forklifts Call on ‘Batman’

LOS ANGELES To craft a new print ad for Toyota Material Handling USA, independent brand-developing agency RiechesBaird turned to the comics for inspiration, an agency representative said.

The full-page ad, breaking this week in the trucking and forklift trade press and on site at commercial lift-truck dealerships, draws attention to the manufacturer with a Batman-like scene: over a dark, industrial city, a spotlight calls out the Toyota logo.

Betsy Scherzer, Toyota account executive at the Irvine, Calif., shop, would not disclose the media budget, but said the ad had been conceived about three months ago.

RiechesBaird has already helped Toyota stand out in its industry, said Scherzer, by eschewing the “usual, dry” marketing techniques in favor of more creative ads.

“We took them a whole new direction within the industry, took [the ads] to next level,” she explained.

Led by creative director Ewan Pidgeon, RiechesBaird’s Toyota Material Handling team envisioned an ad that reflected the look of classic Batman comics. (At least one of the agency’s artists actually taught himself to draw by tracing those early images, an agency representative said.) After a brief search, they tracked down Manhattan-based 1960s and ’70s Batman artist Neal Adams, who agreed to produce a client-specific illustration.

“The process was a thrill, extremely exciting for the RiechesBaird team,” said Scherzer. “Everyone here was just ecstatic.”