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Why I May Never Buy a Toyota

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I went to see the new Harry Potter this weekend. My wife (a huge Harry Potter fan) and I caught an 8PM showing (an important fact) on a Saturday night. There were some decent previews, but the one thing that stuck in my mind was one commercial. It was a black and white cartoon where these "Deviants" murdered "Sheeples" in brutal ways. There were a couple of beheadings. At one point a Deviant skinned a Sheeple and wore his skin like a costume and did a little victory dance. At the end it turned out it was a commercial for a Toyota Scion.

The commercial one of the most gruesome cartoons I've seen. For this reason I won't link to it. By mentioning this, I'm giving Toyota the press they were looking for. Bad press is better than no press at all. So go ahead and watch the advertisement via YouTube or whatever. I won't link to it here, you are on your own. Ask yourself if that's what you want the kids of America watching. It's one thing to show such a commercial during a movie intended for more adult audiences, but for Harry Potter? There are ways to push a product and then there's glorifying brutal murdering and passing it off as "the cool this to do."

I think I feel stronger about this because it was an advertisement - not the form of entertainment itself. If I buy some gruesome video game or watch a horror movie, I know what I'm getting into. The strange part about my stance on this is that I'm usually the most liberal person you'll ever meet. Perhaps I'm not as liberal as I thought I was...

Aside: For those interested in a review of the movie... It was good, but it seemed like they tried to squeeze too much into a 2:20. I don't read the books, so I found I could really use a "last time on Harry Potter..." They still moved things along extremely quickly with the final battle not drawing any "goose-bump" moments that you might get from Rocky or even the first Matrix. I've gotten used to these moments watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The ending of the movie could have learned quite a bit from Xander's broken yellow crayon speech.

Posted on July 18, 2007.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

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30 Responses to “Why I May Never Buy a Toyota”

  1. I checked out the website, and it does seem way to pop culture violent teen oriented. I wonder who their target market was for that type of advertising. If the were going for the Nag Factor from teens, or negative publicity I am not sure.

    For Harry Potter, I would give it an 8 out of 10. I liked it, enjoyed myself, but didn’t leave saying that was an amazing movie. I like Potter 1 and 3 the best.

  2. Lulu says:

    I saw the ad too one day on tv. At first I was not sure what it was for but I did find the ad very disturbing. I am in my late twenties and enjoy scary movies but I thought that was just a really creepy ad to be running on tv during the day when children could be watching. I agree with you on the disgusting nature of the ad.

  3. Lazy Man says:

    I think that they are going after teens and those in the early 20s who buy Scions and modify them to improve performance.

  4. Duxer says:

    I’m in concordance with you about the advertisement. I was a bit amazed that it would be shown at a movie theater, let alone for a movie that is (somewhat) aimed at children. This particular Harry Potter chapter did garnish a PG-13 rating, so I guess someone might think that the ad was appropriate… I don’t know. I would guess I’m in the target audience (16-25 year olds) but I had no desire to buy the ultra-modable scion. At least the ‘modifiablility’ is what I figured that the ad was about – the sheeple are boring, and follow the pack like… well sheep. The deviants are supposed to be the ultra-hip, who like to make their things their own through modification. You know, extra bling on the cell phone, piercings/tattoos, or in the case of the Scion – the special spoiler on the back of the car. So that’s why they drive the Scions. I don’t know why they murder people, or decorate themselves or their cars with people though. The ad did make an imprint though.

  5. You don’t read the books? My wife is the same way, but I never figured you for a book skipper… the Movies are good. But the books are way better.

  6. Oh and one other thing… I just started a Harry Potter Blog aggregator for anyone interested in reading all about that world in one place: http://www.hpbloggers.com

  7. Jeremy says:

    I’ll probably ynever buy a Toyota either, but only because I think they are ugly. ;) I haven’t seen the commercial yet.

  8. shawna says:

    I haven’t seen the commercial but I do have Toyota that I bought new back in 2005. I’d never buy another one again. My 1991 Nissan 240SX with over 200,000 miles runs way better than my 2 yr old Toyota. Actually every Nissan I’ve owned (3) have been better than the Toyota.

  9. shawna says:

    And I did see the movie and thought it was rather lame but I think they left too much out for people that don’t read the books to really know what is going on.

  10. We saw Harry Potter last night as well, and we could not believe the Toyota commercial. Especially at a kid’s movie! Granted, the animals didn’t look like they were dead after their heads were chopped off (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence!).

  11. Baz L says:

    I must say the ad is a bit disturbing, but I like it, lol. But I do see where it may be some what inappropriate for kids. If you analyze it, it’s just the combination of things that make it (for lack of a better word…actually, that’s the perfect word) creepy.

    Many a head has been ripped off of stuff before and they are usually fine for kids. Come on now, we know that. Even in the days of Tom and Jerry, heads would often roll.

    It’s the fact that they aren’t the normal 2D cartoons and the dark realistic background that adds a touch of realism to it that NOW makes decapitation seem a bit too close to reality. There’s no blood in the ad, the sheep aren’t dead, their parts are just rearranged.

    We all know that if this ad featured some exploding smiley faced, flat, 2 dimensional ducks we wouldn’t have this problem.

    I’m not defending the ad, because as a 25 yr/old dude, it did make me shiver a lil’ lol. But this is nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s just the combination makes it weird.

    Now as the Toyota vs. Nissan thing….that’s a completely different story altogether. Nissan’s suspension sucks. I’m sorry, it does. Give me a good old Camry every day of the week.

  12. Lazy Man says:

    I think Tom and Jerry always survived the decapitation or floated up into a nice fluffy cloud in heaven. Also Tom was the instigator and the victim. The Sheeple are the innocent victims having done nothing to instigate the attack.

    And again, that’s the source of the entertainment, not an advertisement of a product.

  13. I tend to agree that these kind of adds should not be shown before Harry Potter or any other movies that may interest young kids.

    White watching the coming on HD-DVD of Moggli by Disney might be damn boring, at least, nobody will be offended by it!

    I prefer Mazda over Toyota anyway ;-)

  14. Baz L says:

    So because they used some creepy ads, you’re going to put an X an the entire company?

  15. Lazy Man says:

    Baz L – I’m considering it. It’s why I said “may.”

    I think it goes far beyond creepy. I’ve seen a number of creepy ads in the past. I can’t think of too many companies that say “We want to be known as the company that says it’s okay to gruesomely murder innocent people.”

    If I expressed such an attitude on this blog, I would expect my readers to go elsewhere. Just yesterday, I was “loosely attacked” (perhaps “strongly questioned” is a better phrase) for owning an SUV and harming the environment even though 1) the SUV gets very little use 2) when it was bought it was necessary for my wife to deliver medical care to people when there were storms in the Northeast.

  16. Amber Yount says:

    Hmm they didnt play that ad when I went to our local HP showing

  17. MoneyNing says:

    I really did not get the commercial when I saw it myself in the movies. It didn’t seem like it had anything to do with cars and I guess they are getting exactly what they wanted which is people talking about it.

  18. How does it feel to call her “my wife”?

  19. Josh Samarin says:

    It is bizarre, as is the video game they created over at littledeviant.com. Apparently they’re planning to partner with a few metal bands to promote the deviant theme.

    It’s just marketing, something to make the scion look a bit more hip and rebellious and get people talking. I agree they should be careful who they target this at, though. Personally, I’m still loving my Yaris :)

  20. Lazy Man says:

    It’s nice to call her “my wife.” It’s especially better to type it since I don’t have to worry about an accent mark in fiancée. At last I can set my keyboard back to normal.

  21. MoneyNing says:

    Lazy: I know exactly what you mean since I am in the exact same situation!!!

  22. mbhunter says:

    I felt the same way with the Lord of the Rings movies. Didn’t really get a lot of the story line but my wife did because she’s read the books many times.

  23. Nate says:

    The first time I saw those commercials I had no idea what the heck they were advertising for. In the end I was like “A toyota? Are you kidding me” What the heck did all that violence have to do with a toyota…… way to take a stand.. drive Nissan!

  24. I’m with you here. When I saw this ad before the Harry Potter movie, it was the second time I’d seen it, so I knew that I didn’t want to see it. I’m not adverse to violence (my favorite movie in the whole world is Terminator 2!), but something about the Little Deviants creeps me out beyond words. After the commercial was done, I yelled out “And that’s why I’m never buying a Scion,” and the whole row of people behind me laughed at me…

    but I was only half joking.

  25. What is even more disturbing to me than the original commercial is the text on the website: “Send the Sheeple from the streets and find them in the highrises. Knock the stuffing out of them and collect their blood. It can be used to your benefit. Turn that awful bleating into awesome bleeding.”

    Now, if I had run across this game myself on line, I probably would have thought “heh. cool.”. (I’m a big fan of “5 Minutes to Kill Yourself”.) All that ran through my head now, however, was “So let me get this straight: an grotesque ad played before a movie aimed at children was not only inappropriate but also promoted an online game where the object is to collect people’s blood…”

    You might want to think about sending a letter or protest to your local theater — from what I’ve read online, a number of theaters have refused to run the ad before HP. Toyota is creepy, yeah, but so is the guy that didn’t pull it from the lineup before showing it a bunch of kids.

  26. boomie says:

    You should be buying American cars, like a Ford Mustang, hybrid Edge or zero pollutant Focus. Ford beats out Toyota every single time.
    Complain. All you have is your voice. Complain to the theater, send emails to the advertising department of Toyota. Tell them you are boycotting their products. Speak up. Let your voice be heard and complain, complain, complain.

  27. CTDeLude says:

    Personally don’t care for the commercials either but Toyota is the best brand out there right now hands down. I wouldn’t buy any other brand cept for Lexus, which is Toyota.

    Besides, my entire family has managed to get great deals from them. So its got that working for it too.

  28. Mach says:

    Booomie, Toyotas are just as American as Fords, and in a few short years Toyota will employ more people in the United States than Ford. Do some research and see for yourself. I am a bit biased since they support me and my family as I am a proud Toyota employee. So are the other 7,000 people that work with me every day just at my plant alone(one of many in the US). I don’t like this ad, but it shouldn’t be a jumping off point into calling Toyota non-American. Yes, the name is foreign but so was Ford, Chrysler, and Chevrolet when those immigrants came to this country. Look into a Ford Mustang closely before buying one. Some of them have only about 65% US-sourced parts. Most Camrys have over 80%. Honda is building a new plant in Indiana. Toyota is building a new plant in Mississippi, and has just finished a new plant in Texas. Where are GM, Ford, and Chrysler’s new plants going in? They’re reducing capacity and cutting jobs in the US, and building shiny new plants in Mexico and South America. The profit from a “Japanese” purchase doesn’t go to Japan, it gets reinvested here in the States. The “profit” on a big-3 car goes to opening a plant somewhere down south (thanks to NAFTA). There are no longer Japanese or American car companies, they’re all global companies with global agendas. I prefer to stay loyal to a company that is investing in my backyard no matter what name is on the building.

  29. Kenny says:

    Toyota is trying to market the Scion line towards younger kids, since the “Toyota” nameplate has an older, stodgier image. They want to make kids think Scion is a cool alternative to Toyota, not an extension of the Toyota brand.

    Please don’t hold that marketing directly against Toyota, as it’s an ad for Scion.

    Your distaste for the ad might mean you’re now part of the “old fuddy duddy” crowd, which is a bitter pill to swallow for us all.

    :-)

  30. […] de Toyota, lancée en juin dernier pour promouvoir son modèle Scion, a soulevé de nombreuses interrogations, autant pour ses spots publicitaires relativement violents diffusés dans les cinémas en première […]

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