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Posts Tagged ‘Toyota’

Toyota’s ‘Meals Per Hour’ Video Generating Hundreds of Thousands of Meals for Sandy Victims

Remember Superstorm Sandy? Though it’s been a long time since the devastating storm made headlines, it remains fresh in the minds of east coasters still recovering from the punishing winds, rain and surf unleashed upon them last fall.

In an effort to re-rally support for those still struggling to put their lives back together, Toyota released the below video last week, titled “Meals Per Hour.” For every time the video is viewed (up to 1 million views), Toyota has pledged to provide a meal to Sandy victims still struggling to feed their families. As of yesterday — one week after the video’s release — the short documentary-style film had already generated 892,000 views/meals. As of this writing, that number has jumped to 905, 695.

In the video, we see that for many in the Rockaways of New York, life has yet to return to normal. We are introduced to the Metro Food Distribution center, a local food bank struggling to provide enough food to those who need it. One volunteer says that even though workers are dedicated to providing assistance, part of the problem is that “there isn’t really a system set up…if you have a good system, the work takes care of itself.”

Enter Toyota, which has had a fair amount of practice creating efficient systems (cars don’t just manufacture themselves, you know). The Toyota Production System (TPS) is based on the idea that “the summation of many, many small, cheap improvements can have a big impact.” One Toyota representitive, who shares TPS with non-profits around the country, explains, “These basic principles of the Toyota Production System apply to any kind of process — it doesn’t have to be manufacturing.” Read more

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Can Japanese Auto Brands Use PR to Stand Out After Recall?

Japanese auto brands have walked a tenuous PR line for decades now. They enjoy a reputation for being reliable, durable and aesthetically pleasing, but the brands behind them also run the risk of blurring into a single, amorphous marketing entity.

Because the public groups Japanese cars and most other Japanese products under the same national umbrella, these brands must work extra hard to differentiate themselves from each other. They even suffer through the same PR fails! For example, the latest auto recall scandal involves Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda and 3.4 million vehicles whose passenger side airbags could “deploy with too much force, sending shards of metal into the passenger area”. OK then!

This revelation presents a litany of PR challenges, the most notable being the public’s collective question, “If these brands all use the same airbags and airbag technology, what actually makes them different?”

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Don’t Call Russell Simmons’s New ‘Digital Marketing Company’ an Agency, OK?

If Jay-Z can pretend to be a sports agent then Russell Simmons can pretend to be a marketing guru, right? Sure — just don’t refer to his new company Narrative, which offers “digital marketing, entertainment and technology” services, as an agency.

Why not? Because Simmons and partner Tricia Clarke-Stone want to help agencies, not compete with them. How does that work? Narrative‘s founders say they will use its nascent creative team to produce the “marketing solutions” and digital campaigns that said agencies will then promote. The group already has a couple of clients in Sprint‘s Boost Mobile and Simmons’s own site GlobalGrind.

Simmons and Clark-Stone aren’t exactly new to the promo game — GlobalGrind doubles as a marketing company that’s already served some big-name clients like Pepsi, Tide and Toyota. They see their new venture’s purpose as filling a “gap” in an industry ill-equipped to serve a public for which “urban culture is [now] the mainstream” regardless of race, background or geography. But how can Narrative not compete with agencies when its service description sounds so similar to those of its prospective “partners?”

Simmons has obviously done great work in the past, and we don’t doubt his promotional prowess — but this is a strange rollout, no?

Despite Recall, Rolls Royce Shouldn’t Hit the PR Brakes

Behind all brands are human beings, and all human beings are fallible. So when a respected auto brand like Toyota announces a recall, the public shakes its head but sympathizes. “I can see how that could happen,” we say to ourselves–and we’re ready to congratulate the brand when it emerges from the wilderness with a new hot pink outfit.

But when Rolls Royce announces a recall, we drop whatever we’re holding, gasp and ask ourselves “How in the world could this happen?”

It’s true. Due to a potential fire hazard, Rolls Royce is recalling 27 of its 2013 phantom vehicles, each of which cost between $399,000 and $470,000. For a revered luxury brand like Rolls Royce, this hurts. This really hurts.

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Spin the Agencies of Record

Toyota Shifts AOR Gears…

SHIFT Communications announced that Toyota has selected the award-winning firm as its primary PR agency in the Northeast Region, which includes New York, New England, Washington, D.C., and the mid-Atlantic states. The firm will also play a lead role in strategic planning for the brand, driving earned media with mainstream and social media outlets, and highlighting the motor company’s philanthropic and community relations programs.

“Toyota is a brand with deep roots in innovation,” said Todd Defren, CEO of SHIFT Communications. “That forward-thinking mindset is incredibly synergistic with SHIFT’s approach and we look forward to working closely with the team at Toyota to bring that same level of innovation to its communications.”

Two for One AOR…

The Morris + King Company announced that it has been retained by Arby’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Over the past 25 years, Arby’s Foundation has donated over $52 million to various charitable causes across the country. Their recent partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign is working to bring meals to more American children than ever before.

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Toyota Recovers from PR Stumbles with Hot Pink Re-Branding

2013 Toyota CrownWe’d be hard-pressed to think of a bigger PR disaster for an automotive brand than the largest car recall in history followed by a massive tsunami wreaking untold damage on international supply chains. Heck, we didn’t even mention this valuable lesson about the dangers of automated spam messaging or this misguided effort to raise brand awareness among toddlers.

And yet, 2012 sales numbers tell us that Toyota has already recovered from a wide-reaching scandal that started in 2009 with reports of “technical difficulties” in its vehicles and ended with the recall of more than seven million individual automobiles. In fact, the Japanese company ended the year by reclaiming its place as the world’s most successful car maker.

Toyota obviously wanted to get people talking in 2013, so it came out swinging with a re-branding initiative fronted by a hot pink “executive” sedan. Japanese CEOs and their teenage daughters now have one more thing in common…a favorite color! Did someone invite Hello Kitty reps to participate in creative strategy meetings?

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What’s the PR Price of Toyota’s Recall?

Public relations experts specialize in reality–particularly difficult realities. We know that the “fight or flight” response resides deep within human DNA and the DNA of the brands the we humans create. During challenging times, many chose to ignore the truth, to cover it up, or to slip into total denial. But the truth always prevails in the end, simply because it never goes away.

When mistakes are made, brands shouldn’t be afraid to appear human. The public, after all, is comprised of individuals, and each of us has our own moments of weakness, disappointment and poor judgment. For those people and brands willing to face the hard truths in life, the public—especially the American public—can be surprisingly forgiving. We love a comeback.

So when Toyota announces yet another recall, this time involving a whopping 7.43 million problem vehicles, the general public feels a little conflicted. We’re happy the brand accepted responsibility for its mistake, but we also want to know why this happened, and keeps happening. Events like these lead PR professionals to ask: Just what is the public relations toll of a recall? Read more

Toyota Accelerates Efforts to Put Young–Very Young–Drivers Behind the Wheel

Don’t you hate it when your eight-year-old throws a tantrum because you’ve taken away his car keys? He kicks the tires of his Toyota and berates you for squelching his lone wolf spirit as he gathers his stuffed Elmo and stomps off into the sunset of his giraffe-wallpapered bedroom.

Parents are accustomed to brands courting their children in an effort to establish brand familiarity and hopefully decades of brand loyalty. Brands know developing positive public relations with children can translate into a lifetime of profits, perhaps even generations. Now, however, kids have the option of growing up with a favorite automobile brand too. Read more

Guest Post: The Future of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is now one of the many ways that brands harness the enthusiasm and creativity of fans for promotional purposes. As the practice has become more popular, digital tools are becoming more ubiquitous and crowdsourcing campaigns are easier to execute for a wider variety of businesses.

In this morning’s guest post, Richard Spiegel, founder and CEO of, looks at the present and future of crowdsourcing. Click through to read on, and use the comments and @PRNewser to share your thoughts.

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Measuring Twitter Success

Fast Company took a look at two different marketing uses for Twitter – promoting a new Soulja Boy album and a Toyota promotion for new owners – to determine the value of a Twitter campaign.

In the case of Soulja Boy’s new album, despite a barrage of tweets to his 2.5 million followers, only 13,000 copies of the new album, “The DeAndre Way,” were sold in the first week. Compared to the 45,000 copies of his previous album sold in the first week, this one was a bust.

New Toyota owners were asked to tweet a specific message for a $500 reward that they can claim by January 3, 2011. The Fast Company story doesn’t mention how many of these tweets they’ve gotten so far or what the goal is. However, “essentially Toyota’s PR team are valuing each of these tweets at $500 worth of promotional material,” the story reads.

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