From the Toyota Yaris 'Clean Getaways' clipEnlarge Photo
Toyota's Clever Film Competition asked fledgling filmmakers to create ads for the Toyota Yaris. In the contest rules, Toyota stipulated that submissions couldn't "break the law", "portray the Toyota Yaris in a negative manner", "show reckless or careless driving", or "be immoral".
After the submission deadline passed, a bunch of advertising executives piled into a room, reviewed the clips, and selected one called "Clean Getaways" as the $7,000 prize winner. The only problem: some people found the clip offensive. In fact, so many people complained that Toyota pulled the ad from the contest website.
In a nutshell, the short film follows a young man, who's picking up his date for a night on the town. The girl's father answers the door, and sexually charged dialogue ensues. Then the girl gets in on it. The spot ends with the classic Toyota leap, frozen in mid-air.
But here, watch for yourself. It's safe for work, unless you happen to work in a church or perhaps an abstinence clinic:
Our take? Yeah, it's borderline offensive, but not nearly as bad as everyone's made it out to be. Most of the arguments against it sound very Feminism 1990, the feminism of Andrea Dworkin, not Megan McCain. Dullsville. Frankly, we think it's a pretty funny clip. But is it as funny as the Chevy Volt Dance video from yesterday?
• On the one hand, the Chevy Volt dance was created under GM's supervision, which makes it far more appalling and unintentionally hilarious (the best kind of hilarious).
• On the other hand, the Toyota Yaris spot features a clever script and good acting. The Volt song/dance might be clever and good in some universe, but not ours.
• Back to the first hand: the Volt dance is really earnest -- like the production numbers in Waiting for Guffman, but sans the irony. Like, not only did someone think that the dance looked great, but the dancers are working hard to pull it off. It's a QVC spot set to music.
• And on the other hand, the Yaris ad relies on shock value -- a little like Family Guy, which can be terrible in the wrong hands, but these folks have toed the line pretty well.
• However: the Volt dance features a terrible hippie-granola song (which is probably Chevy's attempt to re-create the earth-friendly vibe of those Prius ads) and shoves the car all the way to the side. Not good.
• And on the other hand, the Yaris ad features...a Yaris.