Can Beautiful Commercials Get You Nowhere?

It seemed unlikely that Toyota would release yet another artsy commercial for their Prius models in the same month as their buzzing People Person spot, but they have just released two more artistic endeavors in support of the Prius V specifically. All handled by the same agency, Saatchi LA, it is great to see such a creative and organic approach to these ads – but at what cost?  Oddly, they mostly share the same quirky omission that might not mean much with their target audience: with the exception of the last few seconds of the People Person :60, there are actually no moving cars!

Beyond the fact that it is so rare to see an auto commercial without cars moving, these ads all look to evoke emotional response or an optimistic mood rather than detail the car’s specs or features.  They assume that the target audience already knows about that stuff – and in the case of the Prius, they probably already do.

The whimsy of these low-CGI executions are fun to watch over and over again – it seems like the creators even placed Easter Eggs in there to entice viewers to watch again and again.

First, there’s MORE EFFICIENT which is all seemingly done on a turntable with stage theatrics to emphasize how the Prius V can be used well in different types of environments.

For MORE CONNECTED, the same type of staged design enables the camera to move in and out of objects to convey the true emotional dynamics of the car.  This one does have a VO that delves a little more into the features, but there is not a standard presentation of features – which is nice. 

The People Person spot was just released earlier in September and it focused on more models with the conveyance of how there’s many models to fit the needs of many different types of people – perhaps even going so far as to insinuate that one person might want multiple models depending on which part of them is in control. Multiple Personality Disorder anyone?

So, it all comes down to whether these commercials will be effective or not in sales conversions.  As we know that there are so many opportunities for the consumer to NOT watch these, are they enough to grab the attention and then convert to interest or intent?  It is refreshing to see something other than a car on a track, dusty desert or wet, clear streets of downtown Los Angeles – so, for that alone, it could be worth it.  The music selection for each is also different and seems to fit their target nicely. That change could also be attention grabbing to the consumer as we are used to the harder driving music of auto ads (or most everything else for that matter.)

Will these types of ads induce users to actually stop-motion forward on their DVRs (like my daughter and I did on the Hershey’s Kiss spot that is running) and actually enable longer dwell or interaction time with a commercial?  Hopefully they will and if Nielsen is smart, they will incorporate that tracking into their analysis offerings since those bits of information could be huge in determining success or just cool creative.

Hopefully, these types of ads will prove to be successful on all levels and not just in bolstering an agency’s portfolio with pretty things.  If done for the right target, “Artsy” is perfect.  If not, then its sort of like playing with yourself.  Commercials and Music Videos tease at becoming the next perfect haven for visionary directors and filmmakers – but it is not just about execution but connecting with the target.  We’ll see if Prius drives that consumer excitement.

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