TOYOTA TRIES ON FASHION TO REACH AUSSIE WOMEN: LAUNCH FOR ECHO PUTS NEW AUTO IN GLITZY VENUES

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[sydney] Toyota Motor Corp. is embarking on a woman-directed campaign Down Under that combines the glitz and glamor of the fashion world with the strategic sell required to launch a new car.

Dubbed "Toyota Women's Program," the niche marketing effort is aimed at the 49% of Toyota's Australian customers who are female. Toyota's local Communications Manager Louida Namo said the concept is to present the Toyota brand in environments more appealing to the feminine sensibility than the traditional dealerships and motor shows.

The world's sixth-largest advertiser -- spending $1 billion on advertising in 41 countries in 1998, according to Advertising Age International figures -- started by using Australian women's fashion magazines to present its line of car models in the form of advertorials designed to look like fashion spreads.

The copy and photography are written and styled by magazine staff.

The Vogue connection extended to a promotion in Sydney last month, where Toyota and the magazine teamed to launch its new subcompact car Echo with a fashion parade and party at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.

WHERE WOMEN ARE

"We need to be where the women are," Ms. Namo said. "Toyota has a huge skew of women who buy our vehicles."

She said the models included in the Toyota Women's Program are not necessarily "girls' cars."

"Different cars will appeal to different people for different reasons, but there are certain cars skewed towards females and through this program we can put a bit more of an emphasis on" them.

In Australia, Toyota works with Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney, the Japanese car marketer's biggest agency network worldwide.

Toyota next targets mothers. Toyota already sponsors an Internet site aimed at mothers (motherchild.com.au) and has established an online Toyota Mothers Club.

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