AWSI Musings: Toyota Employs a Dummy to Promote Safety…

We introduced the “SNapkin” concept in this post. Here’s another to peruse and ponder.  Enjoy!—The Gang


When we read about the new safety campaign developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles for Toyota
[This Crash Test Dummy Is Unemployed Now That Toyota’sCars Are So SafeAd Highlights Safety Features That Now Come as Standard], we paused.

The concept of an automobile manufacturer’s cars being so safe that the end result is unemployment sounded very familiar to us.

Indeed! Doc and Joey pointed out that it was a Hyundai campaign in Canada that we were remembering. It featured a slacker guardian angel to promote the safety features of the 2015 Sonata that followed a similar premise.

From the press release:

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has put under-performing guardian angels on notice as the advanced safety systems in the all-new intermediate sedan could make their jobs obsolete. In a comprehensive, national advertising campaign – covering print, TV, and online – Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. is putting automotive safety messaging at the forefront as it launches its newest vehicle through the use of a well-recognized icon.

And the director of marketing stated this:

“With advanced technologies such as front collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot information systems, the new Sonata really can take the place of the ‘guardian angel’ by watching-out for dangers on the road. We decided to communicate those benefits by bringing a somewhat unreliable anti-hero into our advertising and asking what they might do if a new car suddenly puts them out of work. It’s a fun way to showcase a consumer benefit that will really break-through the chatter in the marketplace.”

It was a great campaign too, as it hit TV, print, the web and point-of-sale.

Here’s what Toyota did:

Sure, it made us laugh and continues to do so in that “ice box” way we’ve talked about.

According to the story we read, the spot is a part of a wider campaign for Toyota Safety Sense, its new suite of safety features that come standard on many new models. Two other spots that spell out more detail on the safety features. One features two Toyota safety engineers having an awkward moment when a group of working dummies overhears them say that they “probably won’t need as many dummies anymore.” Another spot centers on a crash test dummy taking up skydiving and telling his fellow skydivers how Toyota doesn’t need him as much.

This Toyota ad is very funny in a Super Bowl way, but requires focused attention: Like one-on-one at your computer.  As for placement, we recommend it NOT be the following:

  • An annoying toll keeper ad preventing you from seeing what you want; or
  • An ad to be viewed in the middle of a DVR’d show

This is the kind of ad you want to watch & share.  Plus, it’ll keep you smiling.

AWSI, the concept is awesome. But rather than sink money into all the new jobs the unemployed crash test dummies take on, focus on varying the mediums like Hyundai did.

And The Enchanted Jukebox Sez…

Thanks for reading!


—Dossie & The Gang

Bonus Content:

Please check out the page of the copywriter behind the Canadian Hyundai ad.

Calling upon the wayback machine to bring attention to the loveably goofy duo known as “Vince and Larry” — crash test dummies who appeared in numerous public-safety announcements that took a humorous approach to a serious problem: thousands of Americans were dying each year in auto accidents because they didn’t buckle up.

When the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration partnered with the Ad Council in 1985 to address the issue, they turned to the Leo Burnett ad agency to reach consumers.

More versions of the Safety Dance:

And a really fun LEGO version:

That’s a wrap!

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