Toyota ‘The Real Deal’ by Saatchi & Saatchi London

Many motor-enthusiasts have moaned about technology getting in the way of driving. For example, some new car models allow you to update your Facebook status as you’re driving – a sure way to get yourself killed or, worse, unfriended.

Saatchi & Saatchi London’s campaign for Toyota’s brand new GT86 taps into the aforementioned insight for a campaign entitled ‘The Real Deal’.

In a computer-generated dystopian world, mankind has nothing to live for. Technology has bled the life out of life leaving behind a soporific, synthetic existence. Our hero in the ad tracks down a Toyota GT86, seemingly smuggled in from the ‘real world’, and flees the CG city that has imprisoned him. As he escapes from this simulated metaphor, he is reminded of what it feels like to actually drive again without technological assistance and intervention. Goosebumps rivet his arms. The end of the ad sees him drive straight through a pixelated barrier and into our own reality.

There are obvious references to cinema throughout including, most obviously, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ which among many other things uses the same theme tune (Édith Piafs ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’) as a cinematic hook for a similar reason: to break free from an artificial world.

Toyota are attempting to leapfrog Vauxhall Corsa’s “Put The Fun Back Into Driving” campaign by promoting the notion of putting the feeling back into driving instead. The distinction between the frivolities of “Fun” and the visceral sensation of feeling alive is what is so powerful here. Whilst many competitors focus on the technological advantages of the car (such as the recent spot for the Ford Fiesta highlighting its keyless-entry feature), Saatchi & Saatchi have gone back to basics and promoted the actual driving ability of the car. Have a look at the spot below:

Perhaps there is another insight here. After the manufacturing fault in 2010 that left Toyota red-faced on the front of every red-top (see here), promoting the superior build and mechanical finesse of their product as opposed to the fickle extras that many competitors flaunt, Toyota are conceivably using this products marketing communications as a supplementary brand-building exercise. This presumption, coupled with their active promotion of a 5 year warranty, could be elements of a longitudinal face-lift for Toyota; subtle details that enhance the brand within the mind of the audience.

I’m not a massive fan of the campaign title (“The Real Deal”) mainly because it sounds like it was developed as the strategy’s big idea and rehashed without alteration as the overarching campaign title; it should be more emotive to fit better with the campaign. The rhyme created by “real” and “deal” at the end seems to cheapen the preceding 90 seconds of sumptuous creativity by resorting to something of a marketing jingle.

I would argue that a better campaign title would be:

‘Feel Alive Again’

…as it is more actively associated with the film, the point of the product itself and is more emotive. Furthermore, its instructional quality (developed by using the verb “Feel” at the beginning) seems to address the audience, putting them in the driving seat in much the same way as the advert itself does.

Whilst the title could be streamlined to just being “Feel Alive”, I would argue that it is important to maintain the comparative adverb, “Again”, at the end as it asks the audience to consider the times when they’ve really enjoyed driving giving the copy a more considered tone.

Overall, I think this is a lovely execution born from an intriguing strategy. Despite not liking it initially, the more I watch it the more it grows on me. What do you think? Leave your comments in the section below.


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