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Selection Follows Jesse Jackson Gold Tooth Flap

By Published on .

DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Toyota Motor Sales USA of Torrance, Calif., tapped Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, as its first African-American agency of record after a review, according to a Toyota executive.

Steve Sturm, vice president of marketing at Toyota Division, said the agency bested one other unnamed finalist for the account.

Mr. Strum said Toyota gave six agencies a "small fee" to develop creative. Burrell was picked, he said, because it's a full-service agency, offering strong creative, strong media capabilites and a publicity department.

Gold tooth & Jesse Jackson
Saatchi had handled Toyota brand's African-American advertising. The agency came under fire in the spring for a promotional postcard that showed a smiling mouth with a gold tooth crown in the shape of Toyota's RAV4 sport. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/Push Coalition called for a boycott of

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Toyota and demanded it hire an African-American ad agency, saying the postcard was demeaning to the black community.

Toyota pulled the postcards and started the review.

$50 Million
Toyota said earlier this year it would spend some $50 million annually to advertise to African Americans and Hispanics, of which Burrell will get a share. Mr. Sturm wouldn't reveal specific African-American spending plans, but said the first creative from Burrell could break in the first quarter.

Publicis Group's Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, Torrance, handles Toyota in the U.S. and dozens of other markets abroad. Publicis holds a stake in Burrell.

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