Wednesday, January 14, 2009

“And the Worst Ad of 2008 Award goes to...”

Saaaved by zee-ro.

What an awful, AWFUL campaign. It makes my fillings hurt every time it airs. Without trying to dissect its inherently annoying essence (which I assume resonates in most of us), I will merely make the following suggestions to the creatives at Saatchi & Saatchi, the agency that slapped this campaign together on behalf of Toyota, which they can consider going forward:

1. A campaign’s headline should provide a clear thought.
Saved by zero? What does that mean, exactly? Saved from what, a monthly price that might be slightly higher? Well now, that requires a slight tweak in syntax; let’s try, “(I) saved with zero (percent financing).” The notion of saving is one thing; the notion of being saved carries with it a gravitas that’s inappropriate for a car commercial. And you don’t get a pass on the syntax goof just ‘cause you referenced an ‘80s pop song. Speaking of...
2. If you’re going to pander to a demo, at least be relevant.
Hey Gen Xers, how many of you were really into The Fixx back in the day? Oh, none of you? Exactly. This was a throwaway band with one hit (“One Thing Leads to Another”) and one semi hit (“Red Skies”) and four fans. That’s it. I remember “Saved by Zero” about as well as I remember who shot J.R.
3. Watch your hyperbole, Yo.
The ad claims that ONLY Toyota can offer this “amazing” rate of 0% financing. Uh, how’s that? ‘Cause I just opened my local newspaper and found approximately 147 dealerships, across all car brands, that will give me that — rendering Toyota’s deal neither singular nor amazing. And this is the basis for the entire campaign! Well done, Itchy & Scratchi.

Meanwhile, this riff on the campaign is more entertaining and thoughtful than the campaign itself:

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