Saatchis forced to defend Toyota business

Saatchi & Saatchi's hold on the international Toyota business was dealt a severe blow this week when it emerged that the car manufacturer is briefing agencies to pitch for the European launch of its Avensis model.

Toyota has also chosen the US agencies Attik and Oasis to develop creative for the launch of its new Scion model - which will be targeted at the youth market in the US - following a pitch process that included Saatchis.

The pitch for the launch of the new Avensis pits the Publicis-owned Saatchis against the non-roster agency Leo Burnett.

Toyota is launching the new Avensis next year and wants to develop consistent branding across Europe. Creative will be developed for each market that fits with the overall positioning. Toyota Europe marketing directors, including the UK marketing director, Paul Philpott, are overseeing the pitch.

Toyota is a key client across the Saatchis network. Its most recent UK work was a £6 million TV campaign to back the RAV4.

Ads use the strapline, "Still a bit rebellious?", to target middle-aged men.

The Scion will be backed by a launch advertising spend of $50 million.

Attik will develop creative for the launch with the Dentsu-owned Oasis producing online activity.

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