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Saatchi Drives Toyota Racers to Excel

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LOS ANGELES A spot promoting the Toyota racing team breaks tomorrow during the Phoenix Indy 200 event on ABC, according to the agency.

"Autograph Session" depicts three young fans naively insulting Toyota drivers. Patrick Carpentier is asked, "Where's Paul Dana? He's our favorite." Moving on to Dana, another inquires, "What makes Alex Barron faster than you, horsepower or talent?" Finally, Barron offers an autograph to a fan who's disappointed that he's not Carpentier.

The spot ends with the kids being paid off by the crew for their work. Voiceover: "Rivalry makes for great motivation. If there's a way to make our drivers faster, we'll find it."

A spot that broke earlier in the season ("Firepole") showed a sci-fi pole on which other Toyota drivers were magically dressed for action, a la the Batcave, as they slid down. The final driver comes out in knight's armor, as the designers admit that it's only a prototype machine. "Less time dressing means more time racing," says the narrator, followed by the campaign tag.

The creative for the humorous spots is conceived at Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif., and the team of Max Godsil and Greg Braun, both associate creative directors under executive creative director Harvey Marco and CCO Steve Rabosky.

Neither the client nor creatives at Saatchi were immediately available for comment.

Toyota Motor Sales spent $740 million advertising cars and trucks in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.