Saatchi/LA, Toyota Targeting Buyers Under 35

Bomb Squad, Genesis Teams Open With ‘Driver’s Ed’ Aimed at Teens
LOS ANGELES–A new initiative from Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. and Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles aims to build a stronger relationship with younger buyers ahead of key vehicle launches this fall.
The car maker and agency, both Torrance, Calif., created teams known as Genesis and the Bomb Squad, respectively, to tackle what the client sees as a weak spot in its marketing–attracting current and future buyers under 35.
“Toyota realized its products and voice were lacking in resonating with younger consumers,” said Gail Brackett, director of the Bomb Squad. “They had to come up with products that appeal [to youths] and a way of communicating that appeals.”
The first project, to target teens, has resulted in “Driver’s Ed,” a campaign that uses humor to attract high school kids who are entering the car market.
In two print ads breaking this month in Teen People and Young Money, “Ed,” a Toyota employee, offers pithy driving-related tips. His messages (one reads, “Attention nose pickers: just because you are alone in your car–NEWS FLASH–you are not invisible”) are scrawled on notebook paper amid various school-related materials.
Teens in focus groups “believed Ed was real, authentic and funny, and that what he was saying was relevant and meaningful,” Brackett said.
The initiative comes as Toyota plans to introduce three vehicles in the next model year–the Echo, MR Spyder and new generation Celica–that are aimed at a younger demographic.
Ads aimed at a wider audience will tout those cars. But teens will remain one focus of Genesis’ efforts, and various media–especially interactive–will be used to reach them, said Genesis director Scott Grant.
For now, Genesis has no budget or concrete marketing plan. Money will come from Toyota for “as many good ideas as we can develop, across all marketing disciplines,” Grant said.