Toyota Recall: Local Advertising Opportunity

Local car dealers should take advantage of this story…

Last week when the news broke that Toyota would be recalling millions of it’s top selling models because of a “sudden acceleration” problem with the vehicle gas pedals or floor mats, I started to monitor the search results for “Toyota recall” to see who would be jumping on the advertising bandwagon first.

I noticed a few things within the first two days of the story breaking:

Toyota was running a damage control ad. To their credit, this campaign is also running on Bing and Yahoo which are both empty of competing “recall related” ads as I am writing this:

Toyota Recall “Toyota Takes Care of its Customers. Read the FAQs at”

GMC and Buick were showing the following ads, but these ads were already running under a previous campaign and likely just triggered for the broad match keyword “Toyota”:

May the Best car Win “On New GMC Models, Assurance Comes Standard. Get Details Here.”

May the Best car Win “See How Buick Stacks Up to the Competition. May the Best Car Win.”

Now a few days later we have Mazda and Ford pitching “reliability” and the lawyers jumping on:

Consider a New Mazda “Check out the reliable vehicles from Mazda and find a great deal.”

Ford Vehicles “Drive Safe and Reliable Ford Cars.

Browse Large Inventories Today.”

The lawyers:

Toyota Recall 2010 Update “Sudden acceleration danger. Free case review for injured.”

Toyota Accident Victims “Toyota Sudden Acceleration Recall. Free Evaluation, 1-866-***-****”

The Local Angle

One thing that I do not see is any local dealers geotargeting their own local market with ads yet.

Even though is running the ad above, this would be a great opportunity for a local Toyota dealer to target their own customers with self branded ads like:

Local Dealer Toyota Customers “We’ll take care of you. Call us now, 1-800-***-****”

Send the visitors from your local market to a simple landing page with a quick video, an “answer line” phone number to call, an email form to build an email list for broadcasting recall updates, etc…

I did hear a local Toyota dealer on the radio today running spots telling their customers to call the dealership and assuring their customers that everything will be fine.

Now the radio ads are great, but you have to figure every affected Toyota owner is going to look for information on the internet.

This is an opportunity for the local Toyota dealers to hold on to their customer’s trust, but also a great opportunity for competing local dealers that sell GM, Ford, Honda, etc… to also target these people in their local market.

Local Other Brand Dealer “Worried about your Toyota? Maybe it’s time for a change…”

With local geotargeting and recall related keyword PPC advertising campaigns on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc… any local car dealer could probably ride this story a long way on short money.

When setting up the campaign don’t forget to also target the makes and model years affected. Include keywords like “camry recall”, “highlander gas pedal”, “toyota floor mat”, etc… It shouldn’t take to long to make a good keyword list for this local campaign.

  • 2009, 2010 RAV4
  • 2009, 2010 Corolla
  • 2009, 2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

If you are a local dealer that doesn’t sell Toyotas, now would be a great time to bid on your local Toyota dealers business names and run an ad trying to get people to switch to your brand of vehicles.

Here’s a good example from Twitter. A Ford dealer is trolling for distraught Toyota owners by offering a $1000 extra rebate.

Trade in your #Toyota

Trade in your #Toyota and receive $1000 rebate extra on top of all offers when you buy a new #Ford.

A local Facebook ad campaign might be a good way to capitalize on this opportunity as well.

Note: This was written based upon ads showing in the local market here on Cape Cod, MA. Your local market may look different. Your local car dealer may work with someone like me who told them to start taking advantage of this recall story already.

I posed this question to an old friend of mine, a sales guy:

How would you approach selling new Toyota’s given the recent news?

What a great question. When companies are hit with recalls, and defective products that put peoples lives at risk, selling is the last thing most folks are thinking about. Yet, the selling must go on.

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