Toyota, Universal agree to marketing deal

The Associated Press
Wednesday August 01, 2001

LOS ANGELES — Toyota Motor Corp. has forged a $100 million marketing alliance with Universal Studios that will link the auto maker with the promotion of theme parks, movies and other aspects of the giant entertainment company. 

The three-year deal allows Toyota to sponsor theme park attractions, place cars in movies and distribute music CDs featuring Universal artists through Toyota dealerships. 

Under the deal, which has an option for another two years, Toyota will pay a fee of about $100 million to Universal, said Stephanie Sperber, senior vice president of global alliances for Universal Studios. 

The agreement essentially positions Toyota as the official car of the entertainment company, which is owned by Vivendi Universal. 

The crux of the deal involves theme parks in California, Florida, Japan and Spain, where Toyota will sponsor several attractions. 

In the film realm, Toyota will have a “first look” agreement to place cars in Universal movies, allowing it to claim product placements before other auto makers. 

“The scope of this agreement is so large and extends across so many divisions that it is unlike most other alliances out there,” Sperber said. “The sponsorships traditionally stop with theme parks, but we have taken that concept and really blown it out.”