WestWayne, Machado Promote Toyota in South

ATLANTA Southeast Toyota Distributors started the year with the simultaneous launch of campaigns from its general-market and Hispanic agencies.

The Miami-based organization hopes to increase sales from last year’s 250,000 units to 275,000 vehicles in 2004. To that end, independents WestWayne in Atlanta and Machado/Garcia-Serra/Publicidad in Coral Gables, Fla., have created separate campaigns for the Southeast and South Florida, respectively.

Six spots from WestWayne are airing in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Alabama. Each features a “slice of humanity” the agency and client call “human truths.” All pair humor with a hard retail sell.

In one ad, dubbed “Trust,” a father, after checking the dashboard, apologizes to his teenager for not believing the kid did not drive his Camry. What the dad did not check, of course, was the radio. Deafening rock music drowns out the apology when he turns on the ignition.

Another spot touts the easy ride of the Highlander by showing a woman applying makeup en route to work. In the office parking lot, she emerges from her ride with a flawless face. A co-worker, with the same habit, is smeared with lipstick.

The “human truths” series, according to WestWayne chief creative officer Scott Sheinberg, presents specific features and benefits of the vehicles while amusing viewers. All end with retail messages.

Machado’s work is the shop’s first since winning the $4 million account in June.

Penned by creative director Carlos Chacin, Machado’s campaign had to play to the Hispanic market’s diverse subcultures.

“Our thoughts are to be culturally relevant and language correct,” said Ed Sheehy, client vice president of sales and marketing.

The agency created a trio of valets—a Cuban, a Venezuelan and a Colombian—and cast them in a series of episodic spots that also play for laughs.

“They each pronounce Toyota differently, they have different looks and approaches to humor,” said Sheehy. “This was a good way to speak to the market. Also, who better than a valet to speak to the attributes of the vehicle?”

In the series, currently airing in South Florida (the company is considering an extension to Orlando, Fla.), the valets tease and trick each other, are caught napping (in a Highlander) and ignore drivers to get to Toyotas.

The Hispanic spots are airing on Univision, Telfutura and Telemundo affiliates.

Toyota dealer associations spent a total $270 million on advertising in 2002 and $325 million through October 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The automaker spends an estimated $40 million annually in the Latino market, per Hispanic Business magazine.