Toyota promotes Avalon to black consumers with spy-themed campaign

TORRANCE, CA: Toyota has launched a spy-themed initiative promoting the 2013 edition of its Avalon model focused on black consumers.

TORRANCE, CA: Toyota has launched a spy-themed initiative promoting the 2013 edition of its Avalon model focused on black consumers.

Toyota created the “Only the Name Remains” marketing campaign, which launched April 1, with marcomms firm Burrell Communications, the carmaker's African-American AOR since 2001.

Jaymie Robinson, PR strategist for Toyota brand and marketing communications, said Burrell supported the company's PR efforts and worked on concepts and research for the year-long campaign.

Antony Hoffman directed commercial spots for the campaign, which focuses on a secret agent, played by Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba, running from an old enemy.

“We wanted a campaign that targets [the black] community and really spoke to the product,” Robinson said.

To build pre-launch buzz, Toyota invited 20 black journalists and influencers to Cincinnati from March 20-22 for an “espionage-themed” adventure. Attendees, who received a mission packet for the trip and were greeted by an Avalon brand ambassador in a James Bond-like suit, were given behind-the-scenes access to the campaign, including engineering and marketing information and commercial previews.

Robinson added that to continue to raise awareness for the initiative and the Avalon among its target demographic, the brand will pitch African-American blogs and publications such as Ebony and Essence.

The auto company's Toyota Showcase Facebook and Twitter pages, which are dedicated to promoting the brand's achievements and contributions to the black community, will also be updated with content throughout the campaign, said Robinson. She added that the company has exciting social media efforts planned for the initiative, but declined to disclose any details about them.

Toyota Showcase Facebook has more than 16,700 fans, and its Twitter account has more than 370 followers.

In addition to engaging black audiences, the initiative is closely aligned with Toyota's “Let's Go Places” campaign, which focuses on design, energy, and a “fun-to-drive” feeling, said Robinson. 

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