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Toyota takes heat for 'the herpes of the advertising world'



November 12, 2008 – Comments (16) | RELATED TICKERS: TM

Anyone who has been as annoyed as I have been by the recent ad blitz by Toyota (TM) will love the following article that a colleague forwarded me this morning:

Toyota takes heat for 'the herpes of the advertising world'

This quote on the ad that someone recently wrote on Facebook is an absolute classic:

"Anyone who has been watching football or pretty much anything the past few weeks has obviously been exposed to what can only be considered the herpes of the advertising world. ... If you feel the need to cut your ears off with a plastic knife and then use it to stab that (expletive deleted) red zero that keeps moving on the commercial, join this group to express your pain." 


I wrote about Toyota's massive "Saved by Zero" promotion back in early November, saying:

"After watching its sales fall by a stunning 32% last month, Toyota has decided to go on the offensive...and it has the cash to do so.  This month it has launched a huge wave of new incentives and commercials, which some estimate will cost the company in excess of $250 million, in an effort to stop its sales slide and to steal market share from its American competitors.  Through its new "Saved By Zero" promotion, Toyota will offer special interest rates as low as 0% on eleven different vehicles."

Little did I know then how truly annoying this TV ad would become.  At first it was funny as I turned up the volume on the television to pick on my wife, who's more irritated with the ad than I am.  However, things got out of control a couple of weeks ago when my four-year-old son began singing the theme song completely unprompted while sitting in his car seat.  AHHHHHHHHH.

Apparently a lot of other people out there agree with me that this spot is annoying.  According to the above Automotive News article (subscription required) "the Internet is abuzz with people complaining that they've seen way too much of Toyota's latest marketing effort.  Especially vocal are viewers of Sunday and Monday night football games, who complain that the ads touting 0 percent financing on a dozen models seem to run during every commercial break, sometimes more than once."

Still the fact that Toyota has the ability to offer 0% financing and special lease rates on its vehicles at a time when poorly-run companies like General Motors (GM) have been forced by liquidity issues to completely pull the plug on their special financing and lease offers illustrates just how much trouble the domestic automakers are in.


16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 12, 2008 at 1:05 PM, TMFDeej (97.76) wrote:

How about an informal survey (as well as a shamless attempt to gain popularity ;) ).  If you are as annoyed as I am by these ads, hit the rec button ad the top of this post.


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#2) On November 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM, kdakota630 (29.10) wrote:

I guess I'm lucky I'm too busy to watch much TV.

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#3) On November 12, 2008 at 1:15 PM, carcassgrinder (32.85) wrote:

The adds are annoying....but all ads are becoming annoying.  It's like the world of marketing has it's head in the sand as to the current economic climate....just reinforcing how out of touch and uncreative most of these companies and marketing departments are.

I commercials or any investing commercial are a joke right now.  The world of investing has caused immense pain for a 99% who were exposed to it.  And there commercials run just as they did when evrything was crooked as hell and still going well.  TV...the media...banks...investors....are all becoming a big F*&king joke with the majority of rational thinking individuals.  But then again, even the complete idiot tool-bag jock in my high school remained a complete idiot tool-bag jock long after he was made aware of how he was percieved.  Party on Wall Street...your becoming a waste of air.

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#4) On November 12, 2008 at 1:16 PM, MarketBottom (28.59) wrote:

Stopped watching tv several year ago

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#5) On November 12, 2008 at 1:30 PM, motleyanimal (39.38) wrote:

I fully agree with you on this commercial.

It makes me long for a return to the days of Barry Manilow, to be with "Pepsi People" when I was  "Feelin' Free" , when "State Farm" was like my good neighbor and was always there for me.


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#6) On November 12, 2008 at 1:38 PM, outoffocus (23.78) wrote:

HEAD ON! Apply directly to forehead.

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#7) On November 12, 2008 at 1:40 PM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

What is this "TV" of which you speak?

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#8) On November 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM, kdakota630 (29.10) wrote:


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#9) On November 12, 2008 at 1:54 PM, DemonDoug (31.05) wrote:

rec'd for the annoyingness.

The song is what's annoying more than anything.  I haven't even seen it in a good long while, and it's burned into my head.

Where's "Tastes Great! Less Filling!" when you need it?

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#10) On November 12, 2008 at 2:02 PM, charlesblazer (30.32) wrote:

Wow.  "Saved by Zero" is so bad, I figured it was a local dealer ad, not a nationwide spot.  Meanwhile, Dennis Leary's Ford truck commercials are a surprising breath of fresh air.

Isn't it ironic?  Ford getting something right, and Toyota getting it so wrong.

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#11) On November 12, 2008 at 2:09 PM, ByrneShill (82.75) wrote:

Hmmm, Toyota is spot on with their ads if they get that much buzz about it. Now all they need to do is launch a "we're gonna lower our price instead of showing more ads" campaign and voilà!

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#12) On November 12, 2008 at 6:43 PM, abitare (30.02) wrote:

FYI - Money Manager Marc Faber said the government should pay Honda and Toyota to manage Ford and GM, sense GM and F apparently do not know how to manage their own companies.

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#13) On November 12, 2008 at 7:30 PM, asterzaster (< 20) wrote:

Hee hee :D  How about that end refrain of the song when it goes double-time on "SAVED BY ZERO, SAVED BY ZERO"!  I wanna know how much the songwriter made for that project!

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#14) On November 12, 2008 at 9:04 PM, Tastylunch (28.66) wrote:

I don't really watch tv so not very annoyed. but i gave you a rec anyway.

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#15) On November 13, 2008 at 3:16 AM, GreenMycon (< 20) wrote:

I also don't watch TV.  However, using the magical tubes that make up the interweb, I've managed to watch the commercial myself!


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#16) On November 13, 2008 at 10:50 AM, colonelnelson (33.96) wrote:

The 'Saved by Zero' ads are certainly effective, as others have pointed out, since we are all talking about them.

But I'm still incredibly impressed by Apple's (AAPL) "I'm a Mac" ads.  They are absolutely destroying Microsoft's (MSFT) reputation and credibility in computing, and doing it in an amusing, disarming way.

The latest, lampooning Microsoft's approach to fixing Vista--by spending a huge pile of money--is genius.  Way to use Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates against them.  Bravo.

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