Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Hate Toyota's Saved By Zero Campaign

You know how you occasionally have these thoughts so esoteric and strange that you think nobody else could be having the same thoughts? The kind you're sort of reluctant to share not just because people won't related but 'cause they'll think you're a freak?

Well there I was watching college football last weekend when I noticed the fucking Toyota Jingle in my head making me want to tear out my hair and chuck my TV out the window. It's on at least twice a commercial break during most football broadcasts this fall and it absolutely drives me nuts.

As much as I hate to contribute to the viral success of this (where any reference and repetition is considered good), I have to call this out for its absolute lack of imagination and terrible, terrible jinglephonicness.

I thought I was the only one in America's football-watching legion who payed attention to advertising and this one particularly and hated it for its talentless resort to low pricing, what Seth Godin calls 'a marketers last refuge' in the absence of other good ideas.

Lo and behold. I am not alone. With Leather agrees with me thusly: Get Bent, Toyota. Ad Rants comments on the phenomenon whereby viewers of the ad become victims and mentions a Facebook group dedicated to taking this turkey off the air.

Can you imagine the pitch meeting what approved this campaign? When the Toyota VP hears from his agency of record, okay, here's what we got, Saved by Zero, Saved by Zero, Saved by Zero, in a voice that sort of sounds like Neil Diamond.

At this point said Toyota VP should have interrupted the pitch with a bone-crushing right hook to the pitchman's jaw, fired the agency and buried the campaign somewhere it would never see the light of day.

Toyota, which spends nearly $5 billion per year on advertising expenditures, and lists BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi as agencies it works with, can afford better. Curiously, this time the powers that be at Toyota exercised no such taste or vision.

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