At a time when many observers believe the Clinton administration is leaning toward taxing Japanese minivans and sport utility vehicles, Toyota Motor Corporate Services and Ford Motor Co. are both in the midst of breaking new campaigns. Each is aimed at decision makers and opinion leaders, with media schedules concentrated in national daily newspapers, news magazines and some publications with heavy Washington, D.C., circulation.
Toyota in the last two weeks quietly broke a print campaign in national news magazines and newspapers, created by Omon/N.Y., with a budget of about $8 million. The campaign touts the Japanese company's profile in North America, with emphasis on its extensive North American manufacturing and labor base.
Group manager of external affairs Tim Andree said the advertisements are stronger in tone than previous corporate ads because Toyota sees a large gap between its company image and its brand and product image. "People know us for reliable cars, but not for the jobs we bring to North America, or for our community support," said Andree. He added that it is a coincidence that the ads are breaking when the new administration and Congress are debating the trade issue.
The Toyota effort comes on the heels of a new campaign Ford began Dec. 30, with an estimated $10 million being spent on national newspapers and various Washington, D.C., publications. Much of the budget for the Wells Rich Greene BDDP campaign will be spent in the first six months of this year. Ford manager of corporate advertising and communications Hal Augustine said that the campaign, which highlights Ford's performance and advancements in such areas as environmental engineering and worker training, was in the making since the middle of last year.
"We initiated it because we were concerned about being swept up in the coverage of GM's problems, which are often reported as being Detroit's problems," said Augustine. "But obviously there are other things going on now that make this a good time for us to be running these messages."
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)