Toyota Motor Sales USA is to increase its minority-targeted adspend 37% to $50 million a year and appoint an African-American ad agency, as it seeks to rid itself of recent accusations of racism.

In May, the Rev Jesse Jackson called for a boycott of the automaker, claiming a Toyota promotional postcard was insulting to the black community. He also claimed there were too few African-American Toyota dealers.

In response, Toyota yesterday unveiled a ‘rededication to diversity’ plan to raise $7.8 billion for the minority community over the next decade through advertising, dealerships, professional services, community involvement and procurement.

Toyota expects to announce a decision in its search for an African-American agency – launched in June [WAMN: 21-Jun-01] – by the start of September. Its main ad agency is Saatchi & Saatchi in Los Angeles.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline