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New Prius ad is strangely wonderful

Toyota is running a TV ad for the new Prius which features acrobats coming together to form a giant puppet man, who then breaks apart. Weird? Definitely. But I’ll say this: I’ve never seen anything like it before.

The spot is called “People Person.” The giant puppet was created using actual people, plus a lot of wires, green screen, oversize and undersized props, and CGI. Here’s a making-of video, which includes some explanations from the creative team at Saatchi & Saatchi LA:

Response to this ad has been mixed. Car bloggers have called it “disturbing,” “creepy” and “odd.” Tim Nudd of Adweek writes that the logic of the ad is “fuzzy.” (He’s got a point: If the Prius cars are “all a little different, just like us,” why does the puppet fracture into different people? Is this a multiple personality thing? Do I need to own four cars?)

I also think it’s weird that the ad doesn’t refer to the Prius cars by their model names (each one has a letter designation). Instead it just calls them “the original one,” “the bigger one,” “the smaller one,” and “the one that plugs in.” That seems like a missed opportunity to teach people how to talk about these new cars.

Let’s cast that all that criticism aside. I hereby give you permission to love this ad. It’s quirky, weird and has some serious drawbacks, but it has a bold, one-of-a-kind creativity that deserves praise. Kind of like the Prius itself.

What’s the song in the commercial?

“Got To Be Free” by The Kinks, on the Lola versus Powerman album.

Who created this ad?

Ad Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi LA
Executive Creative Directors: Margaret Keene, Chris Adams, Mike McKay
Creative Directors: Ryan Jacobs, Jeff Church
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Andy Kadin
Associate Creative Director, Designer: Zach Richter
Copywriter: Kimberley Ragan
Art Director: Rebecca Johnson-Pond
Production Artist: Clint Hudspeth
More credits via Adweek.

Who signed off on it?

Someone at Toyota. I’m guessing Bob Carter, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

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