Toyota culls Saatchi & Saatchi from social media pitch

Toyota will delay announcing the winning agency of its Yaris social media pitch until the New Year, with Saatchi & Saatchi now officially out of the running following the controversy over the ‘Clean Getaways’ video.  

The video, which featured a young man swapping innuendo-laden banter with a father about sleeping with his daughter was the winner of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Clever Film Competition – the agency’s submission to the social media the pitch.

It went up against Iris, One Green Bean, Hothouse and a joint effort from Oddfellows and The Population – though the latter has now closed and its staff have moved into fellow Photon agency C4.

A decision on the pitch was originally planned to be made before the end of the year, but Peter Webster, Toyota divisional manager of marketing, told Mumbrella that in light of public backlash against the video, it now plans to reveal the winning agency early in the New Year.

He added that Saatchi & Saatchi would not be awarded the account.

Saatchi & Saatchi wasn’t taken off the pitch [because of the backlash against the Clean Getaways video]. Toyota was in the process of making a decision when this thing broke. But let me say, they didn’t have the winning pitch even when it did break. So they weren’t disqualified because of that issue.”

Webster said it is currently discussing internally why the Clean Getaways video was allowed to go live. “We already have a rigorous process where we review content before it goes into the public domain. But that process was not undertaken and consequently the material went live on the website.”

The social media pitch was led by Todd Connolly, Toyota’s manager of direct marketing and social media. Webster would not go into detail about who else was involved in the process but said that “no heads roll at Toyota”.

On the Yaris debacle Webster said:

It was an error of judgement to put it there in the first place and we removed it quickly. We apologised to anyone who was offended by it. We’ve admitted our mistake and our guilt and learnt a valuable lesson from it. Now that’s where I’d like to let the matter end.

Social media is part of our life going forward and we’re going to continue to be involved. It’s always best to learn our lesson early in the process rather than further down the track.”


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