Best Toyota Ad Ever: The Swagger Wagon

June 1, 2010

Sure, I know what you're thinking, with a blog title like that, you think I am trying to draw you in with some kind of ill-advised hyperbole that's bound to make you click on the link so I'll get more page views. That is only partially true. The whole truth and nothing but the truth is really more complicated than that. While discussing new cars with an uncle of mine, who definitely needs a minivan for all his schlepping and carrying, we tried to narrow down the best vans he could get his hands on. Of course, it came down to the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna (the Chrysler minivans were only a last resort).

And then my uncle asked me: which minivan is "cooler?" To which I had to burst out laughing and try not to pass the liquid I was drinking through my hairy nostrils. And it was a close call. I eventually said there is no winner in that duo, and you can't really use "cool" and "minivan" in the same sentence without angering an automotive marketing deity somewhere. It's like saying "fiscally prudent politician" or "military intelligence" or "jumbo shrimp"--the two don't work hand in hand.

That is, until I came across the best Toyota ad I have ever seen: The Swagger Wagon. This little two-minute piece of rolling domestic bliss and out there parody humor, directed by Jody Hill, is a true automotive advertising masterpiece that shows what you can do when you cross very disparate genres, and I mean genres that were never meant to have been crossed.

The filming mimics every great rap video you have seen, with the artistic black & white touch that keeps your eyes focused squarely on the video. The actors couldn't have been better scripted--white, suburban parents with two blond kids, the mom still with a hint of cool, the dad with negative coolness, and an über-geek aire about him.

But it's how the shoot the new Toyota Sienna and the parents in it that makes it great. The car and the family roll together, they are a unit. And because it's black, it's somehow cool and slightly menacing. Well, sort of.

Listen to the lyrics and tell me real parents didn't have a hand in writing the rhymes. It's all too good.

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