Craig Taguchi: 40 Under 40 2014

Product communications manager, Toyota Motor Sales
Age: 34

Craig Taguchi is a real driving force in the world of automotive PR.

A rising star in Toyota’s communications outfit, he has brought a new style and integrated approach that has paid dividends.

Taguchi took on sole responsibility for marketing the Scion brand in 2009, going on to develop and execute the hugely successful launch of the Scion FR-S sports coupe. His innovative campaign included joining forces with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) to give parts manufacturers a sneak preview of the new model and encourage them to develop parts and accessories.

As a result, more than 100 modified Scion FR-S coupes graced the floor at the SEMA show in Las Vegas. The campaign also featured a road trip for passionate Scion owners to the show itself, with all 50 participants sharing their experiences on social media along the way. The Scion FR-S went on to win the Hottest Sports Compact award.

In his current role, Taguchi came up with an innovative concept for the launch of the Toyota FT-1 Sports Car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Leveraging relationships he developed during his tenure at Scion, he partnered with Sony and Polyphony Digital to develop and execute a press conference that featured the new car in the PlayStation Gran Turismo 6 game.

All media members were given a copy so they could experience driving the car themselves on a virtual racetrack. The event became a news story in itself, attracting coverage from a range of technology, gaming, and lifestyle media that would not usually cover an auto show launch.

According to Toyota North America’s CCO Julie Hamp, Taguchi’s outstanding work has already helped change the face of automotive communications.

"Craig is well-connected with a diverse set of media contacts and has an innate sense for message amplification through social media and citizen influencers," she explains. "Recognition of him as a current and future star validates his role in changing the PR landscape not only at Toyota, but also in the automotive industry."

 

• Taguchi started out as an automotive journalist and edited Drifting Magazine and Import Racer – revitalizing titles that had been shelved for three years. Under his direction, the titles, which had bi-monthly publishing schedulues, achieved nationwide newsstand circulation

• He graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2003 with a BA in social ecology

• Outside work, Taguchi is an avid sports car enthusiast, loves to go surfing, and is a keen home brewer

• He grew up on a small family farm in Covina, California

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