Toyota hands creative and media accounts to Publicis

Toyota has concluded its combined media and creative pitch, awarding most of its portfolio to Publicis Groupe. Spark Foundry has been named the media agency for Toyota and Lexus, marking the end of the brands’ 20+ year relationship with independent The Media Store.

Saatchi & Saatchi will continue to lead brand and select product portfolios on the creative side, BWM Denstu will continue to lead retail, and Ben Lilley’s new agency group Hero has been added to the roster for select product portfolios.


According to Nielsen, Toyota’s ad spend in the 2020 financial year was $54.5 million, and for the last 12 months (March 2020 – February 2021) totalled $67 million.

The shift away from The Media Store will be a substantial hit to the agency, since Toyota was its most significant client for more than two decades.

In an announcement, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, paid tribute to the incumbent agency.

“The Media Store has been a trusted partner for over two decades and has made a great contribution to Toyota Australia. The agency has helped build our brand to where it is today. This decision was particularly difficult and we sincerely thank TMS for their service and support,” he said.

The review of the agency roster took more than a year to conclude, beginning in January last year and motivated by Toyota’s intention to ‘transition from a car company to a mobility company.’

“The automotive industry is undergoing a once-in-a-century transformation that will require innovative customer-focused solutions through next-generation vehicles, services and communications,” Hanley added.

“Our new specialist agency partners are best positioned to support us with innovative marketing as we enter this new exciting era.”

Toyota’s pitch was one of the biggest of the last year, as COVID-19’s economic impacts drove a number of significant clients to reconsider their agency relationships. At the start of the month, Mumbrella revealed that OMD had won the $100 million Victorian Government media account, after breaking the news of the pitch in March last year.

The appointment of Hero is another significant development to arise from the result. The group, which includes brand consultancy Smart, BBE, JSA Creative and Engine Room Productions, and involves Lilley’s independently-owned Australian branch of McCann, has been focused on attaining new local accounts over the past year.

Discussions regarding the transition period from incumbent The Media Store to Publicis are ongoing.


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