Toyota deploys Publicis Mojo for two projects, agency still on roster

By Paul McIntyre | 3 September 2013

Toyota and Publicis Mojo have rebutted a story in AdNews that the two groups have effectively ended their 30-year relationship with Publicis Mojo CEO Joe Pollard confirming it has been briefed on two projects for the automaker.

As outlined in AdNews print edition (23 August), Toyota confirmed it had shifted its alignment of Corolla to Dentsu and that the Kluger and 86 models have moved to Saatchi & Saatchi, meaning Dentsu now handles Toyota’s small car range and Saatchi handles the rest. Oddfellows remains Toyota’s retail and dealer partner.

Pollard said the inference in AdNews that Publicis Mojo’s tenure with the carmaker was effectively over was “wrong and disappointing”.

"We are proud of the long term and ongoing relationship that we have with Toyota,” she said. “We can confirm that Mojo's partnership with Toyota continues. We will continue to work with Toyota on specific projects as they are assigned. In fact, we start a major shoot for them next month for Legendary Moments [Cricket] and are also working on a cross vehicles initiative with passenger vehicles.”

Toyota said in a statement to AdNews:

"We can confirm that the terms of our arrangements with some our agency partners has changed. Toyota has decided to consolidate some of our model assignments with our globally aligned agency networks of Dentsu and Saatchi & Saatchi in Australia. We will continue to work with Mojo on specific projects and assignments, some of which they are currently working on. Mojo have been a valued partner over the last 30 years and we look forward to our continued partnership."

Toyota is undergoing a widespread efficiency program throughout the organisation which could include cuts to its overall marketing budget. It has also recently completed an overhaul of its marketing team which has seen marketing veteran Scott Thompson moved to run sales for the group as part of a broader management experience program and former Queensland manager Brad Cramb has been appointed national divisional manager, marketing. Thompson and Cramb report to sales and marketing head, Tony Cramb – the two Crambs are brothers.

Publicis Mojo’s involvement with Toyota Australia is a global exception for the carmaker, which harks back to the days of Thiess Toyota, in which the Australian operation was run under a distributor license. Toyota has since moved to a wholly-owned subsidiary but Mojo retained its place on the roster, underpinning Toyota’s fierce commitment to long-term relationships.

The latest changes to the agency roster leaves the door open for Publicis Mojo but it is probably at the most difficult point in its long relationship with Toyota. Dentsu appears to have finally got traction with its Japanese client in Australia and Saatchi has turned around its previously troubled client.

Pollard, however, remains upbeat. Her highly regarded new executive creative director Grant Rutherford started last week and will focus on existing clients before pushing into new business.

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