Toyota: An Endemic Epidemic…?


While it appears that public perception has not yet caught up with the recent serious challenges facing Toyota, it may soon. And should that happen, it is conceivable that the world’s nearly-indestructable Car brand could face the PR issues that Domestic brands walked into, during the 1970s/80s: Public disdain. Apathy. Non-interest. Not good at all. And with the news yesterday of Toyota…stopping production…on EIGHT models…even if only for a short time, the questions will be many in a lot of areas.

See more on all of this from AutoNews > here.

But for those reading this, my chosen topic is on MediaSales, and with that, emerges what may be a ‘sleeper’ issue here, one that impacts those on the Sales side. Toyota shutting down 8 models is on the face of it, devastating news. Terrible news for Dealers, Suppliers, and yes, Media Sales pros. Now, it also would be the RIGHT move, if it fixes finally, whatever is going on with their operability problems, and move on from this.

So I for one will be curious to see how this plays out ON the Ad Sales side, and I am thinking many of my fellow Pro’s may soon be having to adjust their budgets for the quarter or year in some format, depending on how this plays out. On the Endemic side, with ‘In-Market’ Autos sites such as Cars.com or KBB or Edmunds, ad budgets that were “locked” for the year in the Upfronts, may soon be re-opened & adjusted. It is pure numbers: if the cars are not for sale, then the OEM does not need to buy their own ‘Model’ support on these sites for Shoppers [aka as Retention in some circles.]

To make this a possible double- or even triple-whammy, it also may mean that any ‘competitive’ buys [i.e. against other makes/models, also called Conquest] could also be affected, as Toyota won’t also need to buy ads against competitor models…since they now don’t have that same model on the market, at the moment. And in reverse, a GM or Ford won’t be buying any Toyota ad inventory against a model that has been pulled from the market.

For those sites NOT on the Endemic side [Social Media, Networks, etc] the impact may be greater, or less. For, without specific models, Toyota may elect to either cut budgets across the board…OR to use these types of sites for heavy ‘Brand’ or ‘Awareness’ pushes, to counteract the possible PR damage mentioned at the outset. We’ll see.

Some or all of this may happen, or not. But it will be interesting to watch. And there are clearly pros & cons on both sides of the choices to make here, which is far beyond the scope of this simple post. Suffice it to say that I would be very surprised if there are not some very serious Strategy sessions going on at Toyota, and at Saatchi, on how to proceed with this.

Good Luck, Team Saatchi & Team Toyota!

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~ by MindOnMediaSales on January 28, 2010.

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