The same day Ford announced a boost in hybrid model production, Toyota Motor Sales USA said it would launch a national campaign aimed at building awareness and understanding of its petrol/electric hybrid vehicles.

"Hybrid Synergy Drive [Toyota's name for the powertrain] is a core technology that will play a key role in virtually all Toyota models in the years ahead," said marketing head Jim Farley. "This campaign has been under development for some time and reinforces Toyota's commitment to hybrid technology. "

The wide-ranging campaign will include marketing, motor show and educational elements and launches on September 26.  Much of the campaign is designed to reach consumers when they're most likely to be thinking about their cars and fuel economy - while they're driving. In addition, there will be a broadcast spot and print and interactive support.

Billboards, petrol pump toppers, bus stop shelters and radio spots will carry various fuel economy and clean air messages including "Commute with Nature," "mpg :)" and "There's Nothing Like That New Planet Smell." The outdoor messages will be set against a sky blue background with the Hybrid Synergy Drive tagline and logo and a note for consumers to visit Toyota USA's website for more information.

More than 100 billboards will be supported by pump toppers in more than 1,200 petrol stations and signage on more than 630 bus shelters. The outdoor effort will be focused in key hybrid markets including New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia. One billboard greeting drivers exiting New York's Lincoln Tunnel will read "Miles and miles and miles per gallon."

There also will be 60- and 30-second versions of a broadcast spot for television and movie theatres. The broadcast spot asks the question "What if the air was clean again?" and will break on television September 26 during autumn viewing season premiere week. The 60-second version also will appear in nearly 1,500 theatres and on nearly 12,000 screens beginning in October. Radio spots will run in key markets and on National Public Radio.

The educational online component will include an animated video demonstration on how Hybrid Synergy Drive works, along with additional information on fuel savings and clean air benefits.

Such messages will be further reinforced through Toyota's motor show displays, beginning with the California International Auto Show in Anaheim, California, in October. Customers will be able to view a cut-body hybrid, interact with various displays and participate in a game show featuring hybrid trivia.

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