Toyota Rethinks Spending Strategy on Magazines

Print Budget of $190 Million to Focus on Large-Circulation Pubs
LOS ANGELES–Toyota Motor Corp. is expected to announce in coming weeks that it will concentrate its print spending this fall on a core group of large-circulation magazines, many of which will likely be part of corporate buys.
Independent publishers or companies with small stables could be shut out of the 2001 model year. The plan was said to be jointly developed by Toyota and its agency of record, Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles in Torrance, Calif. In 1999, the carmaker spent nearly $190 million in magazines, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
“Toyota is evolving its media plan to get greater frequency,” said an executive familiar with the strategy. Having increased next year’s models to 17 from a dozen in 2000, “Toyota doesn’t have the marketing budget to spend a lot more, so it will have to spend smarter.”
“They’ve reorganized how they market the cars into different groups,” added another source. “They’re focusing more on demographic groups and different kinds of segments rather than by car lines in order to get more brand reinforcement.”
While word of Toyota’s new strategy has trickled down to some publishers, Toyota’s decision as to next year’s winners and losers has not been finalized. “We have to get our budget approved first,” said Steve Sturm, Toyota vice president of marketing. “The plan is still under study.”
Among the 161 magazines tracked by CMR carrying Toyota ads last year, heavy hitters included Time Inc.’s People, which raked in $16 million, and Newsweek, which carried $12 million in Toyota ads. “I’m always concerned about every advertiser,” said William Holiber, publisher of U.S. News & World Report. “But we want to work very closely with [Toyota]. If we’re cut off the schedule, we’ll have to replace that business with some other advertiser.”
But amid speculation of a pending new strategy, Toyota last week unveiled a $15 million multimedia campaign for its new hybrid car Prius that will appear in August issues of several magazines, including Newsweek and Vanity Fair. –with Jack Feue