Toyota says the so-called multicultural consumer is the new mainstream, not a niche.
To do a better job marketing to these consumers, Toyota will announce today it's aligning its disparate multicultural marketing agencies into a new team dubbed "Total Toyota" or T2.
Toyota's longtime ad agency, Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, will take the lead on T2, according to Jack Hollis, VP-marketing for Toyota Motor Sales USA in Torrance, Calif.
Linking up with Saatchi will be three sibling Publicis Groupe shops that already handle multicultural marketing duties for Toyota: Conill Advertising (Hispanic), Burrell Communications (African-American) and Zenith (broadcast and out-of-home media buying). InterTrend Communications, which specializes in Asian-American marketing, will also be part of the group.
T2 will become operational with the start of Toyota's new fiscal year on April 1, 2014.
Said Mr. Hollis: "The [agencies] stay the same. They're just now going to be working more as one team. There's no merger, no acquisition, nothing like that. It's still four separate entities. But working as one -- for the total market."
Hispanic advertising generally accounts for the bulk of marketers' multicultural marketing budget. Toyota ranks as the No. 8 Hispanic advertiser. It spent $87.5 million on Hispanic media in 2012, according to Ad Age's Hispanic Fact Pack.
Toyota plans to boost its multicultural media spending in 2014, said Mr. Hollis. But he's still working out the details about how much. The changes are "about bringing it all together -- and making it the mainstream."
Based on its own vehicle registration data, Toyota claims to be the No. 1 auto brand among Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans.
The Toyota division sold 1,742,111 vehicles through the first 11 months of 2013, up 8% from the same period the year before, according to Automotive News Data Center.
That puts Toyota behind Ford Motor Co.'s Ford division (2,194,934, up 12%) and General Motors Chevrolet (1,793,632, up 7%) but ahead of American Honda's Honda division (1,240,372, up 8%) and Nissan USA's Nissan unit (1,035,439, up 11%).