Saatchi, Team One to Open Shop in Texas for Toyota and Lexus

Move Follows Toyota Corp.'s Plan to Relocate

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Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi and its agency Team One will be opening offices in Dallas for Toyota and Lexus.

The move is a way to ensure that Publicis Groupe keeps the decades-long accounts after news broke in April that Toyota was moving its U.S. sales and marketing headquarters to Plano, Tex., from Torrance, Calif. Most of Toyota's 5,000 Torrance-based employees will be affected, and the move will take about two years to complete.

Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus are handled out of the Saatchi and Team One offices in the Los Angeles area, and Saatchi's sole client in Los Angeles is Toyota.

Representatives for Saatchi L.A. and Team One said details and exact location of the new agency offices are still to be determined, but that they are likely to open by early 2017, if not late 2016.

Each agency will move about 16% of Lexus and Toyota National team positions to Texas, a spokesman said.

"Saatchi LA and Team One are currently in the process of deciding which roles are needed in Texas to ensure that our Toyota and Lexus National clients continue to receive the highest level of service with no disruption," the spokesman added. "Los Angeles will remain the 'creative machine' for both Team One and Saatchi LA."

It's not yet clear whether current Leadership at Saatchi L.A. will move or whether leadership will change, but the spokesman said that "there will be a cross-functional leadership team at Saatchi Dallas."

Saatchi's new Dallas-area office "will feature an emphasis on partnership, thought leadership and analytics," Saatchi said in a separate statement. "Saatchi LA, meanwhile, will focus on ideation and executional excellence. That said, the two offices will function as a cohesive unit, with the goal of continuing to do the best possible client work."

Toyota hired Saatchi & Saatchi, then known as Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, as its U.S. agency in 1975. Saatchi also handles Toyota in various markets outside the U.S.

"This was not a decision we made on a whim," Saatchi L.A. President Chuck Maguy said in a statement. "We have worked tirelessly with Toyota leadership to develop a blueprint which ensures that we remain Toyota's indispensable marketing partner, while continuing to create opportunities for our people at Saatchi LA, Saatchi Dallas and the entire Saatchi network."

Saatchi L.A. employs more than 400 people. In June, it named Jason Schragger its first chief creative officer, a post that was created to accommodate a relatively new agency-relationship structure.

Toyota has also aligned its U.S. multicultural agencies into a team dubbed "Total Toyota," or T2, with Saatchi in the lead. That new model also includes Publicis Groupe's African-American shop Burrell Communications, Hispanic agency Conill Advertising, media agency Zenith and indie Asian-American-focused InterTrend Communications.

Lexus is the founding client of Team One, which helped launch the brand back in 1989. The agency has since grown to have five locations, not including this planned office in Texas, and more than 455 employees. Other clients include Haagen-Dazs and the Ritz-Carlton. "Launched in tandem 27 years ago, Team One and Lexus will continue to grow and evolve together, and adding a Texas location to support our Lexus family was the obvious choice," Paul Mareski, president of Team One, in a statement.

Though the Toyota brand has long been working with Saatchi, Toyota tapped Droga5 to market its new Hydrogen Fuel Cell for the car's pre-launch campaign in June.

For Saatchi, the move comes after major leadership changes at the top globally. Robert Senior, who has been chairman and CEO of SSF Group in Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as chairman of the worldwide creative board, will take the role of CEO of the Saatchi & Saatchi network officially in January.

On the account front Stateside, Saatchi in New York earlier this year parted ways with Miller Lite, though in September it picked up the Tecate beer brand as well as coconut-water brand Vita Coc.

Toyota is the ninth-largest advertiser in the U.S. and the third largest auto advertiser in the country, according to Ad Age DataCenter figures for 2013. In all, ad spending totaled an estimated $2.09 billion in the U.S. in 2013. Of that, U.S. measured media was nearly $1.28 billion, according to Kantar Media. U.S. measured media for the Toyota brand last year totaled nearly $947 million, while Lexus was about $268.4 million.

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