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Toyota SA and FCB Africa – AdFocus Partnership of the Year 2018

Press Release - South Africa, 28 November 2018

Toyota South Africa and FCB Africa have been awarded AdFocus’ Partnership of the Year Award for 2018. Published by Financial Mail, AdFocus is South Africa’s leading annual review of the advertising, marketing and communications industry. Agency and client have been together for 57 years, and in the past 38 Toyota has outsold all its rivals.

Explaining the judges’ decision to award Toyota South Africa and FCB Africa in 2018, AdFocus wrote that only one advertising agency previously shared this award twice, but that was with different client. For the same agency and client to win twice takes something very special – and Toyota SA and FCB Africa have provided just that.

It went on to state that this award, however, is about how you use a relationship to improve sales and brand image; the partners must show that they did something special during the AdFocus review period.

“So, what did Toyota and FCB do in 2017-2018? They co-developed a chatbot that fields 2000 consumer questions each month. They redesigned the Toyota Automark used-car website. They found a way to slash production budgets. For example, a through-the-line Toyota Aygo campaign cost R700 000 ($49 000).

“The Fortuner 4x4 Challenge received over 1-million entries. A new campaign for the Yaris revitalised interest among young people. An adverting campaign for the Prado had to be suspended when the vehicle stock sold out.

“Then there were successful introductions of the Hilux Dakar and Toyota Rush, among others. All these interventions served to keep Toyota well ahead of the pack. The Hilux bakkie was one again South Africa’s best-selling vehicle of any description. For 2017 as a whole, Toyota’s share of the total South African new-vehicle market was 22.9% - 15 percentage points better than a year earlier. Halfway through 2018, the share was even higher.”

AdFocus noted that there was nothing outrageous about any of this. After all, agency and client have been doing this for ever. But, it highlighted, this was no ordinary year. Towards the end of 2017, the Toyota South Africa account went out to pitch, as part of a procurement process of the Japanese company to review all its suppliers, both from a business perspective and to meet black economic empowerment goals.

FCB Africa CEO, Brett Morris, was quoted by AdFocus as saying: “For as long as both parties have worked together, results have always been at the centre of what made the relationship strong. So, when it came time to pitch while still working on the account, the partnership would truly be put to the test.

“Given FCB’s record with Toyota, and its radical empowerment transformation in recent years, few thought the agency would lose the account. However, as part of the re-evaluation, FCB changed its structures to provide its client with a more efficient partner. It created a single team working across all channels.”

Obviously, client was impressed. As Toyota South Africa’s sales & marketing head, Calvyn Hamman, was quoted as saying: “Our relationship with FCB Africa has always been exceptionally good, and one that has been regularly measured.”