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What If Living Billboards Used Flowers Protected By Law?

The above McDonalds-logo-in-flowers is just an idea, PhotoShopped together by Sean Click, but it’s a brilliant one — unless, of course, you’re one of those people who wouldn’t want a permanent Golden Arches-shaped flower display alongside a highway near you. California law says you can’t pick or destroy California Poppies, so it would be a floral ad unit that would bloom indefinitely.

The folks at Toyota should have used California Poppies in their living billboard alongside LA’s I-10 back in 2009!


200 Brands With the Largest Ad Budgets

Would you have guessed that Chevy spends more than Ford or Toyota? Or that Macy’s spends more than Target? Other rankings that surprised me: Arm & Hammer spends more than Gatorade, Kia spends more than Volkswagen, and Ashley Furniture spends more than Ikea.

Check out this great infographic that ranks the top 200 brands by the size of their 2009 and 2010 ad budgets.

Top Auto Ad Spenders

The top two in each category (first, second):

Auto: Chevy, Ford
Retail: Walmart, Macy’s
Apparel: Skechers, Nike
Telecom: AT&T, Verizon
Restaurants: McDonald’s, Subway
Food and Beverage: Coke, Campbell
Beer: Budweiser, Miller
Cleaning Products: Tide, Clorox
Financial Services: American Express, Chase
Beauty and Personal Care: L’Oreal Paris, Olay
Insurance: Geico, Progressive
Consumer Electronics: Microsoft, Apple
Media: DirecTV, Dish Network
Drugs: Lipitor, Cialis

Toyota Prius Self-Powered Roller Coaster

Prius Roller Coaster


“Remember that Toyota ‘Ideas for Good’ ad where that guy with the almost 4 year old in the back seat talks about how the hybrid synergy drive would be awesome for the ‘world’s first self-sustaining amusement park’… Well, in a warehouse in Pittsburgh, they’re DOING it — Toyota teamed up with our favorite Pittsburgh-based engineering crew Deeplocal to build a roller coaster from a 2011 Prius. The team of 5 gutted a Prius, using the engine, wiring harness, batteries, and Hybrid Synergy Drive system in a custom designed and fabricated coaster car”

Brand Health Over Time: Toyota, BP and Goldman Sachs

Brand health chart for Toyota, BP, Goldman

Toyota has begun a fast recovery, while BP races Goldman Sachs to the cellar. More at the .

Loving This Week's Brandweek Cover

Brandweek cover

Full story here.

Adweek on Digg Dialogg with Toyota's Jim Lentz

Digg Dialogg with Jim Lentz

Adweek on Toyota’s use of social media, including a Digg Dialogg, as a communications platform during the recall crisis:

“Toyota executed a big ad buy around the effort and a Digg microsite that aggregates Toyota stories on Digg in one place. The Lentz interview was a separate, unpaid Digg ‘editorial’ project. ‘The recall situation we faced in this new landscape was one brands had not really seen before. We were in unchartered territory,’ said Doug Frisbie, national social media and marketing integration manager at Toyota Motor Sales, who describes Digg as an ongoing strategic partner. ‘This allowed us to take a much more conversational approach, which for a big brand is difficult to do. Social media allows brands to become more humanized.’”

Toyota's US President Speaks to Digg Audience

Toyota US President Jim Lentz

From Global Post:

“Lentz has been on an old media blitz all week, yapping to everyone from the Today Show, to ABC News, to NPR about how it’s safe to drive a Toyota.

“But the Digg Dialogue is different. In essence, Toyota’s U.S. boss is laying himself out before the site’s 40 million rowdy users, any of whom have a chance to ask him — in no uncertain terms and in a most public forum — WTF?

“As of this writing, Digg’s minions have submitted 1,076 questions. They are, naturally, diverse in tone and subject. But they seem to be falling into several important categories….”

Toyota Prius's Living Billboard Alongside LA Freeway

Prius Floral Billboard

Driving down the Santa Monica Freeway in LA yesterday I got my first look at Toyota’s floral billboard for Prius, which went live (literally) back in August:

“Toyota’s partnership with Greenroad Media of Santa Monica includes the upkeep of nine urban freeway sections, which basically consists of maintaining and repairing corresponding irrigation and landscape in exchange for using the ground as a floral billboard. Caltrans does not allow any product identification in the actual floral designs, but a nearby sign with the Prius name proudly displayed is installed nearby.”

Some press gave Toyota a hard time for making advertising that requires watering. I don’t get that — we all love gardens and flowers and parks, all of which require watering. So as long a flower billboard is pretty like non-advertising gardens, where’s the problem? Plus I’ve got to believe that replacing metal-plastic-and-ink billboards (with flood lights pointed at them) with plant-based billboards would be a net positive for the environment.