Toyota ends the long-running relationship with its SA ad agency

By our News Team | 2022

Auto brand is moving from FCB after six decades to align its account globally through Publicis, which represents Toyota in other markets.

What must surely be one of the longest-running client-agency relationships on the African continent bas come to an end with the announcement that Toyota South Africa is ending its 60-year relationship with ad agency FCB.

Toyota has made the decision to align its account globally through Publicis, which also services Toyota in other markets including North America and Australia.

Advertising Agencies

The iconic Buddy the Boxer was a product of the Toyota-FCB relationship. Photo credit: FCB

FCB, which opened doors in 1926 as E Lindsay Smithers Advertising Agent with the Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company as its first client, has partnered with Toyota since 1961 when it was appointed to launch Toyopet, the first Toyota model to be sold in the region. At the time the brand, and Japanese cars in general, were largely unknown and consumers tended to prefer automotive marques from Europe and North America. 

Since then, FCB and Toyota have notched up myriad successes throughout their partnership, both on the balance sheet and awards podiums.

Toyota Cross product was launched using augmented technology

Toyota’s achievements since 2020 include launching (using augmented technology) the Corolla Cross at a time when people were not going into dealerships due to Covid and before the vehicle was available to test drive. Despite this, it became the number one-selling car within a month.

It achieved 25% market share for 2021, effectively selling one out of every four vehicles in South Africa and notching up its 42nd consecutive year as sales leader. Toyota went on to post record sales in February 2022 (over 13 400 units) which took its local market share over the 30% mark for the first time.

“The shared values and culture built up over 60 years have forged a deep understanding of each other as partners to deliver our best together. The constant improvement is based on the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen, which is Toyota and our partnership’s reason for success,” said Nahana Communications Group CEO, Thabang Skwambane. Nahana is FCB’s holding company.

“While we have come to the end of the road with Toyota, we hope that their new agency partner is able to continue the incredible success that we’ve had with them over the last 60 years.”