The Japanese automaker will launch a campaign tomorrow as part of the DIY maven's American Made initiative, conceived by Ms. Stewart to promote American brands and U.S.-made products. The push, which promotes the Avalon, Toyota's first car designed, engineered and assembled in America, comprises short video segments created in collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, that feature Ms. Stewart receiving a behind-the-scenes tour of the Georgetown, Ky., plant and watching the complete assembly of the Avalon.
The spots debut as the American Made initiative kicks off a two-day event in New York honoring 11 small-business owners whose specialties range from pottery and clothing design to gardening and cheese making. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills, as well as other notables, including Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman and J.Crew's Millard "Mickey" Drexler, are expected to participate.
The two-day event, which starts Tuesday at Grand Central Terminal, involves seminars, shops by Etsy sellers and artisanal workshops. Ms. Stewart will cohost the kickoff on Monday evening with NBC News's Willie Geist. In advance, she took some time to talk about American Made with Ad Age .
Ad Age : What was your inspiration for American Made?
Martha Stewart: We as a company and me as an individual have ferreted out young entrepreneurs who have built and designed their business in America. Everyone from artisans to the people who make Easy Glides for furniture have been the focus on the pages of the magazine and on the shows. This is a way to honor them. This is our first celebration of what I hope will be many. This comes as there's a renewed focus on America. We have lost so much of our capability to manufacture at home. We need to bring jobs back to the U.S. and take advantage of our expertise in manufacturing.
Ad Age : Toyota is a Japanese brand. Why partner with it?
Ms. Stewart: I am fascinated with the process of car design from start to finish, and the Avalon is being assembled and designed totally in the U.S. I have always been fascinated with the assembly line and Henry Ford. I actually own his son's house in Maine. Toyota's Kentucky plant manufactures 500,000 cars a year and employees 7,000 people. This is a big company helping to support the community. It's nice to see the juxtaposition of small, just-starting businesses and the large, established companies and how they can both support local communities.
Ad Age : What are the other possibilities for American Made?
Ms. Stewart: I am working on a TV initiative about American Made. There's a lot of potential.
Ad Age : How has American Made influenced your business and how will it change how you operate?
Ms. Stewart: It's important for us to find out what's actually American made. We put out a lot of products in many retail stores. Many of our products are made in America, but not 100% by any means. We are always trying to find manufacturers here in the U.S.