Newspaper Advertising: Case study - Toyota Yaris

The story

Car advertising in national newspapers is often thought of as a series of price offers designed to drive consumers in to the showroom, with TV doing the job of the emotional sell. But what if there was a different, and more effective, model?

This is what Toyota set out to test in partnership with the Newspaper Marketing Agency. There were lots of issues to be explored. Could newspapers and TV combined work harder than TV alone to drive engagement with the brand? What would be the effect of running both brand messages and tactical messages in the papers? And what about online newspaper sites?

The brand selected for the test was Toyota Yaris. It had an established proposition of "the small car with the characteristics of a big car". The TV campaign brings the "bigsmall" proposition to life via a series of vignettes featuring small but powerful things, ie. a chilli; a microchip.

The key challenge was in developing separate newspaper creative which delivered on brand engagement. Two routes were developed for pre-testing: "perspectives" (1) and "reflections" (2). "Perspectives" communicated "bigsmall" by juxtaposing a small but powerful icon (eg. an iPod) with the car. One execution that delivered the idea particularly strongly at this stage was the "chilli" execution.

The "reflections" idea was also liked. It was seen as clever advertising that enhanced impressions of Yaris by dramatising the transfer of "big" qualities on to the car. However, the strong results were being driven by only one of the executions. It was decided to evolve "perspectives" to make the link between the icons and the Yaris more explicit, while "reflections" went into a second round of pre-testing (3).

When the evolved "perspectives" route was compared with "reflections", it became clear that they would have varying levels of impact. "Perspectives" was more distinctive and unusual; seeing a chilli in a car ad was different and arresting. The "reflections" route, set against a more mundane backdrop, was proving less eye-catching.

The brief required the campaign to deliver high awareness and drive reappraisal of Yaris. These factors, along with the newspaper medium's requirement for rapid impact and involvement, meant that the "perspectives" route was selected. It also had the advantage of a clear link to the TV via the icons and a sense of modernity.

Each of the four executions planned were to feature a particular benefit relating to the "bigsmall" proposition. Four small but powerful icons were featured in the ads: a chilli (4), a microchip, an espresso coffee (5) and a porcupine (6). The "chilli" execution was translated to run on the online newspaper sites alongside the print element.

The campaign was tracked by Millward Brown to evaluate brand shifts and Sophus 3 to analyse web traffic. The brand newspaper ads running alongside the TV were 66 per cent more likely to prompt reappraisal, and created 82 per cent higher emotional connection with the Yaris brand than TV alone. The brand ads drove a 44 per cent increase in web traffic to the Yaris site - 23 per cent from the paper version and 21 per cent from online newspaper sites. TV and brand newspaper advertising added 60 per cent extra unique visitors to the Toyota site.

The most compelling finding was the effect of combining TV, brand and tactical newspaper ads. This combination generated a 5 per cent increase in likelihood to consider Yaris, compared with only a 1 per cent increase for TV alone - evidence that a different advertising model, that of combining tactical and brand newspaper ads alongside TV, will deliver the strongest results. This and other research suggest that consumers appreciate the combination of emotional and rational messages within newspaper advertising, and within each execution.

- Tom Pinsent is an account planner at Clemmow Hornby Inge; Robin Giles is the general manager, marketing communications at Toyota.