Toyota was busy in 2006, upping its overall ad

Toyota was busy in 2006, upping its overall ad spending by 10 percent in the first three quarters to $901 million (while maintaining a strikingly similar media mix to 2005). Accounting for the overall uptick: The Torrance, Calif., automaker launched four new or refreshed vehicles in 2006, including the most popular car in America, the Camry, which had the largest campaign in company history ($185 million through September, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus). Like last year, most of that money went to TV (58 percent of the budget), with a rise in Internet spending (up 63 percent to $39 million, though only 1 percent more of its total ad spend.) Experimentation on the Web included the debut of digital “mobisodes” and online City Guides that showed young people in a virtual Yaris cruising cool neighborhoods seeking out hip spots. “There was absolutely a greater interlink between creative and media than ever before,” said John Lisko, strategic communications director, Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance. “Our approach in 2006 was all about creating better engagement with the target with whom we were connecting, and using proprietary research at Saatchi for Toyota to build contextual relevance.”