Camry ‘Gets Real’ in Latino-targeted Push

NEW YORK It’s a classic case of perception vs. reality.

In a pair of unscripted TV spots breaking today, Toyota challenges Hispanic consumers who have a need for speed and performance to test drive the 2009 Camry with a professional driver and rethink their preconceived notions.

The TV ads, which are airing via mun2, Telemundo, Univision and various Hispanic sports networks, are an extension of the automaker’s ongoing “Camry-ality” push that began two years ago to coincide with the vehicle’s redesign.

Print, online and viral ads, as well as a microsite, are in the mix. Saatchi & Saatchi’s Hispanic shop Conill Advertising, Los Angeles, handled creative and media duties.

Taking a page from reality TV’s ambush makeover format, Hispanics who earlier participated in consumer research sessions about the Camry — and who said they were unimpressed by, or unaware of, the vehicle’s power and performance — were later visited at their homes, reminded of their critical comments [shown to them on video] and invited to take a spin in the vehicle with a pro driver.

“Hispanic consumers’ impressions of Camry’s performance lagged behind those of its stellar design and innovation,” said Pablo Buffagni, svp and chief creative officer at Conill. “The best way to show off the 2009 Camry was to have people experience it for themselves — and to make the reality their new perception.”

Employing the theme, “It’s never too late to change your mind,” the unscripted reactions are captured via hidden cameras of Hispanic focus group members who agree to go on the test spin with the professional driver.

After a high-speed run around the track that ends in a dramatic 360-degree turn, a Hispanic male who earlier had described the Camry as “a turtle” is caught on camera changing his tune, saying: “I should have said ‘the Toyota Camry is a turbo turtle,'” says Buffagni.

The initial “Camry-ality” campaign used hidden cameras to get the enthusiastic reactions of new car buyers with the most recent effort focusing on consumers who weren’t convinced that the Camry could offer both power and performance, Buffagni said.

The multiplatform effort is aimed largely at bilingual Hispanics, ages 18-34, who have eyed the Camry as an entry into the brand, but were on the fence about the vehicle, per Conill.
The microsite, which is being created by Conill, will feature a Web navigation system that drives like a car with a stick shift to maneuver “and go back in reverse to change your mind,” Buffagni noted. In keeping with the reality-based format, the Camry is also a sponsor of the mun2 reality series, The Chicas Project, which follows two young Latinas as they explore the duality of being Hispanic and American.

Toyota’s ad spending for the Camry in Spanish-language network and cable TV has reached $6 million through May 2008 with the ad spend totaling $15 million in 2007, up from $13 million in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.