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Toyota Birthing Ads No Bundle of Joy

September 18, 1997|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: Toyota Motor USA

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Pacific, Torrance

Challenge: Introduce the Sienna minivan as a viable competitor to the models from the Big Three.

The Ads: One TV spot shows the Sienna being born as it emerges from a garage to the wails of a woman in labor. Another, in which a mother tries to quiet a teary toddler, shows off the interior of the Sienna. As the mother searches for a pacifier, we get a look at the rear fold-down seat and the driver-side sliding door--features intended to make the Sienna competitive with domestic minivans that dominate the market. The spot ends with a strain from the 1970s hit "Everyday People"--Toyota's new advertising theme.

Result: It's hard to believe women will enjoy sitting through the birthing soundtrack, especially if children are in the room. The second ad makes the minivan appear roomy, addressing a complaint about the narrow Toyota Previa, which the Sienna replaces. Analysts expect Toyota to easily sell its entire production of 60,000 minivans; that's barely a ripple in overall minivan sales, which came to 1.2 million in 1996. $$


Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on probable effectiveness and tastefulness, with $$$$ being the best.

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