NEW YORK—In one of the largest marketing coups in recent years, holiday cheer—the intangible spirit of goodwill towards man, peace on Earth, and warmth in the hearts of all—will now be sponsored by the Toyota Motor Corporation, sources reported Tuesday.
The exclusive $30 million deal, which includes promotional tie-ins with the season's first snowfall and the smell of roasted turkey wafting gently through a warm and cozy home, was signed earlier this week by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. executive vice president James Lentz.
"We are very excited to be working with holiday cheer," said Lentz, who called the look of wonder on a young child's face and the company's new line of durable trucks a "natural pairing." "From now on, whenever anyone curls up in front of a crackling fireplace, or takes a moment to reflect on the importance of family, Toyota will be there."
Added Lentz: "This truly is the most wonderful time of the year."
While many details of the deal are still unclear, Lentz said that the automotive company has been awarded endorsement rights to all affection and joy experienced during the month of December. Toyota will also be the chief sponsor of numerous holiday-related events, such as the untangling of Christmas lights while listening to Bing Crosby sing old seasonal classics, and the making or consuming of eggnog.
Additionally, as is specified in the terms of the agreement, all sugar plum fairies will now be preceded by a 15-second Toyota ad before dancing inside consumers' heads.
"Landing holiday cheer was huge for us," said Toyota marketing executive Rebecca Greer, moments after announcing that the 2008 Corolla would be the official car of sitting down with loved ones and reminiscing about years past. "We got trapped in a bidding war with General Motors over the sound of carolers beneath an open window, but it was worth it in the end."
"After all, yuletide spirit is everywhere you look," Greer added. "Or, I should say, 'Toyota Presents: Yuletide Spirit' is everywhere you look."
Toyota's marketing campaign has reportedly increased sales figures by 3 percent in the last week alone, and investors are hopeful that the deal will continue to spread the holiday message of generosity, compassion for others, superior handling on all luxury 4Runners, good tidings, antilock brakes on every SUV and year-end truck, and faith in your fellow man.
"We've enjoyed a steady increase in revenue since becoming a proud supporter of warming up with a hot cup of cocoa," Toyota promotions director Kyle Williamson said. "Plus, sponsoring that priceless smile on your wife's face Christmas morning will only open more potential growth markets to us."
Toyota is not the first company to make a cross-promotional deal with a popular indefinable entity, however. In 2002, Johnson & Johnson secured a partnership with a mother's unconditional love for her child, while Budweiser paired up with a teenager' s desire to escape feelings of social anxiety and confusion in 2005.
Despite Toyota's initial success, many market analysts claim that the car company may have overpaid for its abstract product placement.
"This might have been a smart move in the 1950s, or even the '60s, when holiday cheer was still alive and well," Car & Driver reporter and family black sheep Malcolm Jones said. "But these days, Toyota could have gotten twice the exposure for half the cost had it sponsored holiday depression and ill will instead. And if they had been willing to buy out Lean Cuisine frozen meals' stake in post–New Year's resignation and apathy, the ad tie-ins could have extended well into January."
While only time will tell what effect the marketing subterfuge will ultimately have on consumers, Toyota's tactics have already angered a number of Americans.
"The holidays shouldn't be about consumerism—they should be about faith, and hope, and the simple pleasures in life," Chicago resident Samantha Bryant said. "Like the all-new Toyota Camry, for instance."