What is this I don’t even

4 06 2009

I’m not gonna lie, I love to rip on the Toyota Prius.  If it suits your needs, and you own and enjoy one, good for you—I’ll be the last person to begrudge you your personal choice in automobiles.  And as the driver of a couple of gas guzzlers, I might even be a bit envious of the fuel milage hybrids like the Prius can get.

But the fact is, it’s a really boring car.  I often call it the automotive equivalent of a washing machine.  It’s adequate, it’s utilitarian, but it’s just an appliance, not a real automobile; it lacks soul.  You drive it because it’s practical, not because it excites you.  Which is fine, I guess, but I’m young and impractical.

Which would you rather drive daily?  If you choose the Prius, you need to get your priorities in line.

Which would you rather drive daily? If you choose the Prius, get your priorities straightened out, or stop being so damn practical.

Seriously, though, I’m not here now to denigrate the Prius as an automobile.  I’ll save that for another time.  Instead, I want to point out the bizarre, vaguely unnerving commercials used to promote the 3rd-generation Prius:

Watch closely.  The first thing you notice is the cartoonish, garishly-colored background the vehicle is travelling through as obnoxiously upbeat music is playing.

Then you realize: It’s people!  Soylent Green everything except for the Prius is people!

Apparently, whatever drugged-out focus group came up with the concept liked it enough to use in another commercial:

I think this goes a step beyond being far out: it’s just plain creepy.  Seriously, I’m pretty sure the ad campaign development went something like this:

Scruffy, Underweight Creative Type #1: Dude, dude, get this: the car is like, driving, man.  Driving through fields and mountains and stuff. With music.  And a voice over.

Intentionally Dishevelled, Ironically Dressed Creative Type #2: Naw, man, that’s lame, nobody is gonna buy that.  Unless…

Scruffy, Underweight Creative Type #1: Unless what?

Intentionally Dishevelled, Ironically Dressed Creative Type #2:  …unless everything is like, people!  The trees?  People!  The water?  People!  The mountains?  People!

Scruffy, Underweight Creative Type #1: No way, man!  Let’s take this to the boss!

For all of their rock solid, reliable vehicles, Toyota kind of sucks at making “green” commercials.  This one, for the 2nd-generation Prius (which, to be fair, the 3rd-generation is a minor stylistic improvement over) does little to assure me about quality and durability:

What the hell?  The car is made out of twigs and leaves!  I’m spending $20k+ on a car that will biodegrade if I don’t garage it?  Also notice: the car doesn’t move once in the commercial.  It’s nice to show your car, you know, driving in promotional materials.

At its conclusion, the commercial asks, dramatically and somewhat puzzlingly, “Why Not?”  My answer is simple: I prefer that my car have some form of motive power, be it an engine, batteries, or both, and last longer than a 30 second commercial before turning into a compost pile.

To be fair, Toyta is not the only corporation to dive off the deep end.  There’s a series of IBM commercials that could only have been created by ex-Deadheads.  Here’s one:

That poor guy is clearly having a bad trip, and the woman is so far gone she doesn’t even care that there are cartoon animals everywhere.  Acid must be a hell of a drug.




2 responses

5 06 2009
Thom Douglas


5 06 2009
elizabeth anne

but they’re just so cute! I fail to understand how you can be so critical of such cuteness.

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