Toyota Launches Global Creative Review for Prius

LOS ANGELES Toyota Motor Sales has launched a global creative review for its new model Prius hybrid, set to launch in the U.S. sources said. Global roster shops Dentsu and Saatchi & Saatchi and at least one other undisclosed shop are participating, with presentations scheduled for the end of February in Japan, according to sources.

In the U.S., Prius creative is handled by Dentsu’s Oasis, New York. Media buying is at Saatchi’s Publicis Groupe sister Zenith Media, New York, while planning is handled by Saatchi’s flaghsip Toyota office in Torrance, Calif.

The bulk of the sales in the highly publicized category are so far concentrated in the U.S. and Japan (Toyota, which launched the Prius in Japan in 1997, claims to have 90 percent of the worldwide market and reached the 100,000 global sales milestone last year.)

Toyota primarily competes with Honda in the hybrid category, although other manufacturers such as Ford plan hybrid launches of their own beginning later this year. The Japanese carmaker also wants to capitalize on what one source described as a “quantum leap in performance and technology” for the new model, which debuts at the end of this year, and is looking for a shop to help the launch “make a big splash globally.”

Spending for the global launch was undisclosed. Prius put $30 million in ad support behind the Prius U.S. launch two years ago, but has spent roughly $15 million annually since, per CMR.