$10 Million Campaign Aimed at Young Men

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DETROIT ( -- Toyota Motor Sales USA's Toyota Division is talking to three ad agencies for an estimated $10 million viral-marketing effort to lure young men to its brand.

While Toyota's sales are on the rise, it's still not top-of-mind with younger car buyers.

"We want to see if we can get new ideas under the radar screen" to reach men between the ages of 24 and 30, said Deborah Wahl Meyer, corporate communications marketing manager.

Car models
The models covered in the pitch are the upcoming Corolla XRS, Matrix XRS and Tacoma. Toyota will launch the next-generation Tacoma compact pickup this fall.

The automaker is contacting shops that have ties with agency holding company Publicis Groupe: Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, Toyota's national creative shop; Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and independent Ground Zero, Los Angeles, which is partnered with Japanese ad network Dentsu, which has a stake in Publicis.

As an interesting sidenote to the all-Publicis showdown, the competition pits Kirk Souder, Riney's president-CEO and creative director, against his ex-partners at Ground Zero, a shop he co-founded.

Toyota isn't using a consultant for the informal review. A decision is expected in a few weeks, with the first viral campaign possibly breaking in late summer.