Toyota Is Betting Big on the Olympics With 7 New Pieces of Creative for Its First Global Campaign

A look at the brand's marketing strategy for the Winter Games

Inside the brand's seven Olympic ads. Toyota
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Toyota’s marketing team is off to a strong start in 2018. The brand announced earlier this week that it would have seven new ads running throughout the Olympic and Paralympic games (immediately following three new ads that ran during the Super Bowl). This particular push is also significant in that it is Toyota’s first global campaign.

While one spot, “Thin Ice,” has already been released, Toyota dropped the remaining six spots today. Each one is part of the larger “Start Your Impossible” campaign for the Olympics. It includes a total of 10 spots. The mission for these ads is to spread the brand’s message that every person, in every part of the globe, should have the “freedom of movement.”

The creative end of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic campaign for Toyota has been in the works for over two and a half years, according to Saatchi & Saatchi executive creative director Fabio Costa. Saatchi & Saatchi worked on the Super Bowl and Olympic spots alongside Dentsu.

Costa said that the campaign needed to not only highlight Toyota’s partnership with the Olympics, but also the fact that Toyota has evolved from an automotive company to a mobility company. “Our job from a marketing standpoint was to find a potential tagline to unite the world,” Costa explained. “This is the very first time, for Toyota, that one campaign, one tagline, united every single region, every single Toyota around the world.”

The spots are divided into two buckets—one focused on inspiration, the other on evidence. “Inspiration is where we align in our values as a company, Toyota, with the shared values of athletes, Olympians and Paralympians through universal stories,” Costa said.

The brand’s Super Bowl ad starring Paralympic skier Lauren Woolstencroft, “Good Odds,” falls into the bucket, as well as Ashley Wagner’s poetic “Thin Ice” spot. Two new ads, “Runner” and “Dreams,” also fit nicely into the inspiration side of the equation.

This marks Toyota’s first year in its eighth-year partnership with The International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and for the brand, it was the perfect time to, “support our commitment in extending the freedom of mobility for all—no matter their circumstance, location or ability,” said Chris Schultz, general manager, Olympic/Paralympic marketing, Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota believes that mobility goes beyond cars. It is about enabling everyone the freedom of movement.”

“When it comes to finding those stories, there was a massive team of relentless creatives and strategists just digging deep and trying to find mobility stories that had Olympians and Paralympians and people that have experienced that in their life and how many difficulties they had to face,” Costa said. “Then we show the flip side, which is the success. Once faced with that hardship, how much they broke through it and came out stronger on the other side.”

The “evidence bucket” highlights products: the latest technology and mobility products that Toyota has developed or is in the process of developing, from new cars to wheelchairs.

“‘Start Your Impossible’ is rooted in the word ‘kaizen,’ the Japanese word for continuous improvement, [which is] central to Toyota’s values. With this campaign, we hope consumers connect with the notion that when you are free to move, anything is possible,” Schultz said.

Viewers of the Olympics will also see some six-second spots from Toyota during the games. NBC announced earlier in the week that Toyota will be the exclusive partner of six-second ads for the Winter Games.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.