Toyota Sponsors Kids Site on Yahoo!

SAN FRANCISCO Toyota Motor Sales USA continues its kid-centric ad campaign for its new Sienna minivan by becoming the premier sponsor of the Yahooligans! Book Club, which launches today.

It’s the latest cross-marketing push in Toyota Sienna’s $60 million campaign, which began with TV spots last week and also includes print inserts in Time for Kids magazine.

For Yahooligans! Book Club, Toyota will be the primary sponsor for the first three months. Sienna ads from Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif., will appear on the site’s home page and in e-mails that kids can use to send book “wish lists” to their parents.

“The book club complements the Sienna launch campaign in helping to communicate with parents through children,” said Deborah Meyer, marketing communications manager for Toyota in Torrance. “Yahooligans! provides a safe resource parents approve of and a friendly atmosphere kids enjoy.”

Toyota’s sponsorship of the book club amounts to a significant investment in online media, but it’s not surprising when considering how much children influence the purchasing decisions of their parents, Yahoo! representatives said.

The site will also include endorsements from child-friendly celebrities such as skateboarder Tony Hawk, ice-skater Michelle Kwan and actress/children’s author Jamie Lee Curtis, who will make monthly book recommendations.

“We’ve always had reading resources, but we’ve never launched a book club before on Yahooligans!” said Chris McGill, director of news and information for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! “But we looked at the statistics [from the Department of Education] that show 35 percent of fourth graders with reading levels below basic proficiency and we wanted to motivate kids to read and find out reading is fun, not just educational.”