If you’re like me, you spend your days watching “House” on Hulu when you should be working. Which means you’re constantly watching commercials for the 2011 Toyota Highlander—ads like this one:
Do I really need to point out how thoroughly loathsome this ad—and the entire campaign, by Saatchi & Saatchi LA—is? God, when that curly-haired fucking moppet announces, “Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to be lame,” I really want to strangle him. I don’t care about the creatives behind the project—that kid is such a good actor he deserves to die a horrible, horrible death.
Over at some other Website, a Toyota spokesman calls the campaign “light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek.” It may be the former, but certainly not the latter. Everything in it is designed to show a hyper-self-consciously cool kid embarrassed by a parent’s poor choice of vehicle. No tongue, no cheek. And that is bad. Bad bad bad!
Yes, I know the ads have been out for several months. But they keep showing them! And so I have to conclude that, on some level, this has been an effective marketing strategy for Toyota. How, to paraphrase Insane Clown Posse, does that fucking work? What kind of person watches this ad and says to themselves, “You know, I don’t want to embarrass my child with my old car? I’m getting a Highlander!”?
Probably not the same kind of person who reads DadWagon. Which is why I feel justified in saying something like: If you buy a Highlander because of these ads, I hope you drive it off a cliff with your smarmy, leather-jacket-wearing kids in the backseat.