Ruel Jon Lao
12 July 2018
Taking one for the the Team
When it comes to cars, Toyota is no stranger to manufacturing affordable and reliable cars. But what if the company attempts to do something bold and address a social issue like the division in America? Many car manufacturers often boast and hype up their products stating that the Honda Civic gets the best in class miles per gallon or the Ford F-150 has the best towing capability. For Toyota, their long history of reliability and longevity of its cars speaks for itself. During the 2018 NFL super bowl, Toyota aired a commercial with a twist. Instead of focusing on unique features, and groundbreaking technology for their cars and trucks, the company decided to use the love for sports as a force to bring the world together. In other words, in the eyes of Toyota, “were all one team”.
To summarize the the text, the commercial begins with a jewish rabbi picking up his car keys, seemingly in a rush. He exits the synagogue, enters into his truck, and drives off. The next scene shows a christian priest in the middle of a lesson study eager to leave. He checks his watch and realizes he is indeed late. He leaves the church to meet up with the rabbi. The two are then shown in the next scene picking up a iman. With the three of them together, they finally the arrive at the last pick up location, a Buddhist monk, patiently waiting at a bus stop. All four of these finally arrive at the football game just in time for a touchdown. As the celebrate with joy, the commercial ends with the quote “ We’re all one team”. Despite their religious differences, these four seemingly good friends all share a similar love to football games. The commercials prominent features included such as colorful and busy activity. The sun shining bright in the afternoon, fans rushing to get ready for a game later tonight, and sharing the experience with friends. Scattered throughout the advertisement, Toyota includes bits of dry and the tomfoolery of the priest and the rabbi with the imam and the priest winging his lesson study. Overall the advertisement contains a positive tone. One that makes viewers smile at the silliness of the 4 good friends.
Analyzing the text further in detail, one must first begin with the author and its targeted audience. The advertisement was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, a communications company who partnered with Toyota to create an appeal to unity. Ultimately their goal was to bring people together. It makes sense considering Toyota’s slogan is “We’re in the business of making great cars and trucks. But we also work every day to apply and share our know-how in ways that benefit people, the community, and our planet in order to build a better tomorrow” (Toyota Motor Company). Both Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota tailored this advertisement specifically to catch the attention of the many Americans watching the NFL super bowl. However, with different cultures and people all around the globe, the advertisement can potentially be for everyone.
In terms of a logical appeal, not much is to be found. There were no evidential facts or statistical data is mentioned. No narrator to be heard, boastfully chattering about the car. Not one word was advertises about their vehicles. In terms of an ethical appeal, Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota attempts to establish themselves as an even more reputable companies. It was a chance to show the world that they acknowledge about real world issues and they somewhat offer a vision that everyone can get along. Toyota knew sales were going well. Instead of bombarding the audience with information they already know, Toyota went for something new. In a sense, they went for the because a celebrity does it, so can others just as easily approach. Finally, Toyota’s claim that “we’re all one team” is their way of pathos. The quote hits the viewers emotionally, attempting to trigger a response or affirmative reaction that indeed no matter what we believe, we can all be on the same team. In today’s divided world stating such thing could receive much backlash. This multimillion dollar risk received very good feedback from the viewers. It could said that because it was aired during the super bowl, many Americans felt very patriotic, as diversity is one of the thing America is known for.
During the whole 60 second commercial, Toyota offered no statistical data or figures about horsepower, torque, top speed, or acceleration time which was unusual for a car company. Ronald Burns, a Texas Christian University professor, who studied the effects of car commercials even states that “Typically, automobile commercials will focus on features and unique car commercials tempt us with features, such as high gas mileage, saving money, comfort features, road handling, or with using cars to make a person seem wealthy, economic, beautiful, etc. which are appealing to humans. Safety is often emphasized by highlighting features that the vehicle includes, while other automakers may instead focus on performance by highlighting the vehicle’s acceleration and speed” (qtd. in Beyer & Meyer). So why did Toyota do this? As mentioned before, Toyota sales were already good. Going for the standard approach of glorifying their cars seemed redundant.
Although, the overall tone was mostly positive, Toyota, unsuprisingly, did receive some backlash. Toyota was accused of religious discrimination for not including a representative from the hindu religion. Some viewers accused toyota of discriminating hindu’s for excluding them from the commercial. Others, simply deny toyota’s claim, like Brad Hirschfield who states that “we are not all one team in the sense that people have particular attachments to particular traditions, teams, nations and ways of being in the world… It just doesn’t work – not, in our personal relationships, and not across the borders of national or religious identity — and we need to let go of that approach” (Hirschfield).
Toyota was bold to take the nonstandard approach in appealing to unity. Instead of being the honest, reputable, affordable, and reliable car company that many people love, they took it a step further and focused on an important message. Instead of competing with other car brands like Honda and Ford, Toyota gave viewers a heart to heart moment. A a moment that appeals to everyone, reminding us no matter what we believe that we can all share similarities. Not only was this different, it was inspiring, aiming to bring a joy the the audience members.
Beyer, Alyssa P., and Sara Moyer. The Perfect Pitch: Car Commercials in the Environment. (2014).
This articles talks about how car manufacturers successfully make appealing commercials. This article overviews features that all car advertisements must have to appeal to the general audience. I am going to use this to compare if Toyota includes all the features for my text. This article was found on Google scholar and was published by Gettysburg college.
Hirschfield, Brad. TOYOTA’S RELIGIOUS AD REMINDS US WE’RE ALL ONE TEAM… AND WE’RE NOT. The Wisdom Daily. 5 February 2018. http://thewisdomdaily.com/toyotas-religious-ad-reminds-us-were-all-one-team-and-were-not/. 2 July 2018
This article goes in depth giving criticism and analysis in toyota’s “one team” commercial. According to the article, people get may agree with others in some aspects, and disagree on others. I am planning to use this in my article for its criticism and skepticism towards a potentially biased commercial. This article was written by Brad Hirschfield and published by the Wisdom Daily.
Schultz E.J. TOYOTA INCREASES SUPER BOWL BUY TO THREE ADS, RELEASES TWO NOW. AdAge. 2 February 2018. http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/toyota-super-bowl-ads/312204/. 2 July 2018
This article also goes in to little detail about toyota’s vision of being one team. No matter what religion you believe in, we all belong on the same side. I have chosen to use this article for the statements that was reported by toyota. This article was written by E.J Schultz and was published by AdAge.
Toyota Motor Company. Our Story. Toyota, www.toyota.com/usa/our-story/index.html. 11 July 2018.
This article mentions the past, present, and future of toyota motor company. This highlights most importantly what their goals is as a company. I am using this for a quote to reinforce what I am saying. This article comes from the official Toyota website and was published by Toyota.