Toyota hands The&Partnership the keys to Europe ad account, drives away from Publicis agencies Saatchi&Saatchi and Zenith

Toyota moves ad account to CHI&Partners

Toyota has appointed The&Partnership as its advertising agency for Europe, replacing Saatchi&Saatchi and Zenith.

The creative shop was given the keys to the account without a pitch.

Dedicated hubs will be set up for the car business, each designed to steer its creative along a more integrated way of planning campaigns.

Despite the pan-European scope of the account, a significant chunk of it is expected to focus on the UK. It means that part of the account will be supervised by marketing director Andrew Cullis, who joined at the turn of the year after his predecessor Chris Hayes moved to oversee Toyota’s brands across Europe.

The review comes amid a tricky time for the car maker; it is weighing up its future in the UK in the wake of the Brexit referendum, though has stopped short of making demands on the government in the same way rival Nissan has done. Given the knock-on effects the vote has had on macroeconomic trends such as the prospect of rising interest rates throughout Europe it makes sense that a business that exports 85% of the cars and engines it makes in the UK would take the time to reassess its advertising strategy.

CHI & Partners has been working its way up to Toyota’s top agency table since 2004 when it was tasked with promoting the Aygo model across Europe. Since then the agency has been awarded several pan-European briefs including the for the Corolla and the Yaris.

Saatchi & Saatchi had handled the UK ad business for Toyota since 1993. During that period, Toyota has flitted between the two agencies; in 2007, it stunned Saatchi & Saatchi by moving the lion’s share of its £50m (at the time) UK advertising business into CHI & Partners. Two years later it pulled the entire European business for the Toyota brand from CHI & Partners and gave it to Saatchi & Saatchi, though it did let the former keep the advertising and online briefs for the Lexus marque.

Correction: This article was amended on the 7 November after The Drum incorrectly reported that The&Partnership's creative agency CHI&Partners had won the account.

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