Why Toyota’s New Slogan Isn’t Going Anywhere

Selling cars in an anemic economy is brutal.

Car brands must do everything they can to make automobiles affordable and appealing to budget-weary customers–we get that. In our current economic state, car makers must cut all superfluous expenses and pass those savings along to a discerning marketplace in order to keep sales moving. At the very least, they should appear to be doing that.

For this reason, we are beyond baffled to learn that a venerable Japanese car brand like Toyota paid six—yes, six—marketing and advertising agencies to create their newest slogan: “Let’s Go Places.” If you’re counting–and we are–that’s two agencies per word.

As the company’s press release explains, “The new tagline is the result of extensive research and collaboration with longtime partners Saatchi & Saatchi, Dentsu America, Conill, Burrell, Intertrend, and Grieco Research.”

All this work to replace Toyota’s previous emotional juggernaut of a slogan, “Moving Forward.” One more word equals progress, we guess.

Toyota explains the otherworldly power of “Let’s Go Places” with typical marketing jargon that leverages the usual suspects in loosely-defined terminology: aspirational, optimistic, journey, inclusive, versatile, dreams… We get it. The shampoo we bought yesterday made the same claims, and the 8th grade student in all us appreciates the literal and figurative levels of “Let’s Go Places”–now remind us again why we should consider buying a Toyota.

Will a new Toyota help us achieve our “versatile dreams”? We doubt it–our dreams entail watching our kids graduate from college, even if we have to take a golf cart to get there. The public doesn’t demand literary undertones in its car slogans. Come to think of it, did the public ever express anything resembling interest in a new Toyota slogan?

Americans want language that evokes what it means to be human in the harsh economic realities we navigate every day, which means choosing words that relate value, prudence, simplicity and stoicism. Honest is good too. On that note, we have a suggested tagline for Toyota:

“We Make a Great Car at a Good Price–All Without a Bailout!”