Automark is Toyota's certified used vehicle brand in South Africa. The new Buddy ad, which broke on November 28, was created by Draftfcb Johannesburg's creative team of Group Executive Creative Officer Brett Morris, James Cloete and Ivor Forrester.
The strategic intention is that Buddy features in all Toyota SA's marketing communication in a bid to break through advertising clutter, and extends reach and influence recall during the current tough trading conditions.
He was developed after Toyota SA and Draftfcb put their heads together and examined the marketing tactics and actions companies should take to ensure they weather economic storms.
The client-agency team took several of these tips on board, namely: when hard times approach, consumers retreat to familiar places so replace images of aggression with images of togetherness, and replace fear with humour; brands that increase or maintain advertising exposure when their competitors are cutting back can improve market share and return on investment (ROI) at lower costs than during good economic times; and work hard to find the right message while maintaining the brand essence.
“When we were introduced to the ‘Buddy' concept, we immediately agreed that he made financial and marketing sense, and would work for the Automark brand. Indeed, he is proving immensely popular; so much so that he is receiving fan mail,” explained Automark's senior manager, Guy Keeling.
The Automark ad is Buddy's fourth appearance for Toyota in just three months. In this latest execution, Buddy visits an Automark dealership and walks around inspecting the vehicles on the floor. However, he refuses to listen to his owner when asked to sit because - like Automark - he ‘doesn't do tricks'.
Added Len von Graevenitz, Vice President: Vehicle Sales & Dealer Network: "Having an ‘icon in the making' like Buddy allows us to cross over to the certified used vehicle portion of the business and to create synergies in the mind of the consumer. It provides a platform for instant recognition by the public of the fact that Automark vehicles are backed by Toyota and therefore, come with all the trustworthiness of a new car.”
Credit for his fast-growing popularity must be shared between the agency and clever direction by Bouffant Productions and extensive post-production by Sinister Studio. Comedian Chris Forest, the voice of Buddy, also adds life and spark to the commercials. Click here to view the ad.