BRUSSELS - Toyota Motor Europe has appointed BLD Europe, the pan-European communications company, as the lead advertising agency for its A40 million Lexus Europe account.
Brussels-based BLD works directly with advertisers to create consistent advertising across Europe. Currently, a dozen advertising agencies work on the Toyota and Lexus brands in Europe.
BLD is a wholly owned unit of Dentsu Inc, Japan's leading advertising agency.
Toyota is one of Saatchi & Saatchi's biggest clients internationally. The agency has the majority of Lexus and Toyota's advertising around the world.
Agency sources have said a number of agencies pitched for the account, including FCB Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and Germany's Wensauer & Partner.
Lexus Brand Director John Howett said of the assignment: 'BLD really showed a strong understanding of our strategic and business needs. They took a new approach to reaching our target group that is firmly in line with our market aspirations.'
Lexus has been in Europe for about 10 years and is increasingly seen as an alternative to traditional European luxury-car brands. The Lexus IS200, a BMW 3 series challenger, was launched in May 1999. More models will be introduced in the next 18 months, backed by a new marketing push.
'We will be breaking our new campaign in the autumn,' said Howett. 'As a challenger in the marketplace, there is a complex job to be done among the total communication audience - from the customer right down to the dealer. The details on spend and media are still confidential, but I can assure you we will be addressing our targets in a completely new and focused way.'
The first of Lexus' new models, the RX300 sport-utility and LS430 luxury sedan, will be launched in October and November respectively. A luxury Lexus coupe will follow next year.
Lexus wants to raise its European sales to 50,000 units by 2004-2005. It sold 15,000 units in Europe last year.