LOS ANGELES, June 6—For 10 years, Golin/Harris International counseled first Chrysler and then successor company DaimlerChrysler on a host of public relations programs from employee communications to cause-related marketing initiatives. But earlier this year, after significant budget cuts, DaimlerChrysler took much of the work previously carried out by Golin in-house, freeing the agency to pursue the Toyota Motor Sales USA business.

Thanks in part to its automotive experience, Golin beat out fellow finalists Douglas Cohn & Wolfe and Magnet Communications for the prestigious Toyota account. While the firm won’t have an agency-of-record relationship with the Japanese automaker, it will handle a wide variety of “special projects,” focused on building the Toyota brand, with an emphasis on specific target markets, including the youth market.

According to Toyota’s national public affairs manager Joe Tetherow, “All three finalists made strong presentations, and a decision we expected to take a couple of hours took a couple of days. But in the end we thought Golin/Harris could do the best job for us, based in part of their experience with clients such as Disney, Nintendo, and Amazon.com.”

Tetherow says Toyota, relying largely on its in-house PR team, has done a good job promoting its products, but that “there are opportunities for building the brand in the consumer marketing arena.”

The Golin/Harris account team will be led by Fred Cook, managing director of the firm’s western region, and will include L.A.-based executive VP Judy Johnson and Andrea Wood, a senior VP in the Chicago office who worked on the DaimlerChrysler business. The account will be supported by “many different practices” within the agency, according to Cook.

Says Cook, “The automotive industry is a fascinating industry, where companies are doing things on a very big stage. The more we read and researched about Toyota, the more it became apparent that the products and the company have a stellar reputation. Toyota is quickly approaching the big three in terms of size and we are going to be working on some very exciting initiatives.”

The agency search was handled by Marina del Ray consultant Jerry Swerling.

  • The Los Angeles office of Golin/Harris was recently added to Nestle’s list of “aligned agencies,” pitching with support from the firm’s Chicago and Cleveland office. Golin is now eligible for a wide variety of Nestle business.