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Key Milestone Celebration: Toyota Unleashes Buddy

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Key Milestone Celebration: Toyota Unleashes Buddy

Toyota South Africa’s most-loved canine ‘spokesman’ is back! Buddy, the charismatic Boxer that shot to fame more than a decade ago has been unleashed to announce that Toyota South Africa

Toyota Buddy

Toyota South Africa’s most-loved canine ‘spokesman’ is back! Buddy, the charismatic Boxer that shot to fame more than a decade ago has been unleashed to announce that Toyota South Africa Motors’ (TSAM) operations are back to normal after production was halted on the 12th April following the devastating floods in KZN. The new Buddy commercial launched within two weeks of TSAM announcing resumption of operations at its Prospecton Plant in Durban.

The damage to the infrastructure and machinery was described as the worst calamity ever experienced by Toyota Motor Corporation. TSAM was enjoying a healthy market share of 30% – on average – before its production plant was submerged in water. This immediately put TSAM on the backfoot, with its market share shrinking to 17%, 18,1% and 16,3% in the months of May, June and July – respectively. Despite this, Toyota held on to its number-one position in sales.

Although the production of locally-built models such as Toyota Hilux, Fortuner, Hiace Ses’fikile and Corolla Cross and Quest was suspended, TSAM ensured that there was good supply of CBU (Completely Built-Up) imported vehicles to the public. In addition, the company also released a television commercial (TVC) in which it reassured its customers that it would recover from the devastating effects of the floods.

“While the clean-up and rebuilding began, we tasked FCB Joburg to create a campaign to reassure our customers that Toyota South Africa is committed to getting their favourite cars back on the road,” says Leon Theron, Senior Vice President at TSAM.

“We decided to tackle this messaging in a two-phased approach,” remarks Tian van den Heever, Executive Creative Director at FCB Joburg. Phase one, which launched in June 2022 shared a reassuring supportive message, while phase two coincides with the reopening of Toyota SA’s Prospection Plant and has a very clear message of ‘We’re back’.

When it came to how FCB Joburg and TSAM were going to bring this message to life, they had a special character up their sleeves. “We could not be more excited to bring Buddy back a whole 13 years after his initial Toyota debut,” says Theron.

“Unlike past Buddy renditions, newer state-of-the-art animation technology as well as on-set editing allowed for the development of his iconic smile and humour to be more natural – well, as natural as a talking dog can be,” adds Van den Heever.

Buddy’s character and charm – coupled with the equally uplifting PJ Powers song Jabulani – was perfectly suited to bring back the nostalgia of the past and the positive outlook for the future. It may have been a ‘short paws’ but here’s to a brighter future for Toyota and South Africa. And here’s to bringing more smiles to faces, thanks to Buddy and SA’s best-loved cars.

Breyten Odendaal

Hello! I am a publisher for 3D Car Shows. Besides cars and automotive news, I am also interested in virtual reality, 3D modeling and animation.

Published : Tuesday August 30, 2022

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