Monday, February 8, 2016

Where I Show You What Twenty Million Dollars Looks Like

According to reports Toyota dropped twenty large on super bowl spots. I'm guessing that doesn't cover the cost of making the spots which, while possibly negligible compared to the ad buy, I am sure was still a significant amount of money.

So here are the spots in their longest versions.

"Heck On Wheels"

"The Longest Chase"


My opinion:
Classic Toyota commercials. They're silly. They're cute.The production values are the same as all other Toyota commercials. In other words, they very much fit into the video narrative that Toyota has created for all its vehicles. More below.

Other opinions on the commercials...

The Verge
In this ad, which aired during Super Bowl 50, four bank robbers — three of whom are played by Chris Bauer, Pablo Schreiber, and James Ransone, three members of the Sobotka family from The Wire — struggle to find a getaway vehicle, considering an Uber before deciding to steal a new Toyota Prius (and leaving a bag of cash for the owner). The police give chase, with the cops and perps poking fun at common perceptions of the car, mentioning farmer's markets and how it shouldn't really be hard for the cops to chase down baddies in a Prius.This is the second Super Bowl ad we've seen for the Prius this year. The first was inexplicable and awful, so it's nice to see Toyota get it right with this self-aware, tongue-in-cheek piece.
The Washington Post
There are, of course, more cynical ways to interpret this commercial, as many did on social media. It’s attention-grabbing for sure, but maybe not the attention Prius was hoping for.
The Baltimore Sun
Super Bowl commercials feature 'The Wire's' Sobotka family, Mike Tyson for Michael & Sons

And The Washington Post again, under the headline of "The Worst Commercials of Super Bowl 50"
The Prius was supposed to be the focus of this Toyota’s Super Bowl ad, but some social media users found the ad’s cavalier approach to a police chase a bit tone-deaf in the context of current events. Four white guys (fun fact: All played by actors from “The Wire,” a show that understands race) rob a bank and lead the police on a wild chase — with shades of O.J. Simpson — except everyone is more enthralled with the fact that they’re in a Prius than the multiple crimes they’ve committed.

Aol News...
Best use of an ensemble cast: 
The cast of "The Wire" made a surprise appearance in the Toyota Prius commercial and admittedly Prius powered right back into our hearts. 

Toyota wants you to know that if you are robbing a bank and need to get away quickly, a Prius is probably better than, like, a horse or something. Seems like a really specific market niche to hit.

Back to me...

As the saying goes, there are just about as many opinions as their are people. Or something like that. Suffice to say, there was no consensus, that I could find, on the Prius super bowl spots. Good and bad and a fair share of indifference.

While I don't think the spots are bad, I'm not sure I see the good. And maybe I'm not the target audience. Maybe Toyota is looking for new blood. Well, why be coy? Toyota has been so upfront on how they want to mainstream the Prius that it's beyond silly to pretend otherwise. Which makes me wonder why all the standard "a Prius can't go fast" jokes run through these commercials. From the first, absolutely (and possibly intentionally) awful "Heck on Wheels" spot to the two featuring the some of the cast of The Wire, a show which I have never seen. Heresy though it may be, from the perspective who had no connection to those actors, it was, well, tepid. But I get it and it's consistent, as I said above, with the kind of spots that Toyota has produced for all their vehicles.

The big question is, will it sell Priuses?