How To Destroy Your Brand: Toyota's Most Annoying Commercials

January 25, 2011
They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. They say it's better to be infamous than pious and forgotten. They say it's better to garner the spotlight any way you can than be hidden in the shadows. They say a lot of stupid things that are often ascribed to shady marketing types who wear slick suits and have very well coiffed hair. Yet I beg to differ about this be remembered at all costs philosophy.

Sometimes you can annoy the spit out of people just by trying to act too cool, and as a result be made fun of ad nauseum. Be made fun of, or worse be nastily mocked like the geek kid at school who suffers an eternity at gym class. And in doing so, any credibility you may have had with the chess class or the computer kids is deleted faster than a hard drive passed through a magnetic airport scanner.

My dear friends at The Car Connection alerted me via Twitter to an ad for the new Toyota Highlander that I consider really annoying, and not in the memorable, it will age well with time like a disco record way. No, quite the opposite. In the way that makes me want to get a high pressure water hose -- we're talking 1000psi here people -- and run onto the set where this commercial was filmed and blast the director and actor in to the bushes and tell everyone to start over again, and this time make it funny.

Watch the first ad and scratch your head. You can't empathize with a single character in the ad. Not the weird looking redhead kid, the parents in the Ford you want exiled to Siberia, or have attacked by a pack of wild roving dogs. And the main character blond kid. Why have kids act like adults? Didn't that go out with 1980 sitcoms? And for a good reason. Then watch the next two ads that are part of the new 2011 Toyota Highlander series and ask yourself how long would it be before you sent that obnoxious kid to military school for some attitude adjustment. And the dad, geez! He looks like a caffeine buzzed Steve Guttenberg desperate for a job or some kind of reciprocal affection.

What's worse is, the new Highlander is a decent SUV/minivan replacement for those suburban dorks who can't be seen in a minivan (why, I am not sure). It's good looking, it's got a nice interior, good space, can keep up with traffic. But the ads, Toyota, haven't you done enough damage to yourself through the recalls? Now you have to give us this? Come on. Get an edge. Give me a Nissan or VW quality ad.

[The Car Connection]

Toyota Highlander Commercials

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