Toyota Expected to Tap Burrell

CHICAGO — Toyota Motor Sales USA is expected to name Burrell Communications here as its agency for African American advertising, sources said.

Toyota earlier this year agreed to spend $8 billion over 10 years on a variety of company-wide “minority empowerment initiatives”, following a threatened boycott by Rev. Jesse Jackson’s PUSH organization. The threats followed a print ad by Toyota’s lead agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, that showed a gold inlay of a Toyota RAV4 in the tooth of a black man, an approach Jackson deemed insensitive.

The agreement with PUSH led to a minority agency review by Toyota and the selection of Burrell. Exact billings for the agency were not available, but Jackson had urged Toyota to move 10 percent of its $400 million ad budget to a minority shop.

Publicis, Saatchi’s parent, has a 49 percent stake in Burrell.

Burrell executives referred calls to the Torrance, Calif.-based client. A Toyota representative said a decision is close and an announcement could come later this week.