Global alignment sees a 60-year partnership come to an end.

After a 60-year partnership, Toyota South Africa Motors and FCB are to take different forks in the road.

The number one automotive brand in South Africa has recently announced that FCB will no longer be its agency of record for its brand and above-the-line account, business held by FCB for six decades.

Toyota has made a decision to end the successful 60-year relationship to align its account globally through Publicis, which also services Toyota in other markets, including North America and Australia.

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 South Africa.

Since then, FCB and Toyota have notched up myriad successes throughout their partnership, both on the balance sheet and awards podiums and even more so over the last few years.

Understandably, the agency is saddened by the loss of the Toyota business, none more so than its Executive Creative Chair, Brett Morris, who joined the agency in 1995 and had worked alongside his FCB colleagues on the Toyota business since then.

“We’ve travelled a long way together with Toyota,” he said. “There have certainly been some bumps along the way but together we’ve continued to take the chequered flag, each one of us contributing to Toyota’s iconic status within South Africa in our own way.

“We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together, and we regard our collaboration with Toyota as one of the greatest things we’ve ever done. Thank you, Toyota, and everyone we’ve worked with over the years, for a partnership that has endured and for allowing us to share your amazing journey.”

Toyota’s journey truly has been an amazing one, one that not even a pandemic could pothole.

Its achievements since 2020 include launching (using augmented technology) the Corolla Cross at a time when people were not going into dealerships and before the vehicle was available to test drive but, despite this, it became the number 1 selling car within a month.

It achieved 25% market share for 2021, effectively selling one out of every four vehicles in South Africa3 and notching up its 42nd consecutive year as sales leader, but went on to post record sales in February 2022 (over 13 400 units) which took its market share over the 30% mark for the first time4.

And, retained its number 1 vehicle brand status despite having to take its manufacturing plant in KwaZulu-Natal off-line5 after the devastating floods in the province and having no vehicles to sell while the clean-up took place.

For its part, FCB has an enviable reputation for building South Africa’s favourite brands, and regards Toyota as its favourite example of this.

In the past year, with 10 new campaigns under its belt, it achieved an average noting score more than three times the category norm, with two campaigns scoring more than five times above norm.

Similarly, its average liking score was consistently and significantly above the norm. These outstanding results led to Toyota achieving 3 out of the top 10 in Kantar’s most loved ads in 2021, more than any other brand in South Africa.

“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.

“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.”

Nahana is FCB’s holding company.


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