By on October 2, 2009

Oh boy...

“My client was terrified. She slept with a machete next to her bed and she slept with mace. She could barely sleep or eat normally.”

Los Angeles attorney Nicholas Tepper explains why Toyota and its ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi went too far with their viral “The Other You” campaign. Tepper calls the effort a “terror tarketing campaign,” and according to his lawsuit [via Ad Age… follow the link to watch the ad], his client “became physically ill” because she was convinced “a disturbed and aggressive” stranger was en route to her house. No wonder Akio Toyoda recently admitted “Toyota has become too big and distant from its customers.” Thumbs down.

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23 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: This Is How You “Grasp For Salvation?” Edition...”


  • avatar
    menno

    Wow. How stupid can you get?

    Time to put the “creatives” back in the bottle and not give them any illegal substances any more, by all accounts.

    Bad, Toyota, bad.

    Don’t do it again.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bill Hicks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVZo1Jjfshw

    “By the way, if any of you are in advertising or marketing – kill yourself.”

  • avatar

    Amazing. Probably a function of the law of very large numbers

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    “So then I said to the client “What if we build a marketing campaign around scaring the beejezus out of potential customers ’cause everyone knows that fear is one of the great primal motivators…”

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/10310/saturday-night-live-bad-idea-jeans

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    And I was wondering why Paris Hilton is famous…now I know.

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    The video has been taken down, but it’s still worth clicking over to AdWeek and reading the article.

    Somewhere right now, a senior executive is working on finishing a bottle of scotch, so he can use the empty bottle to beat some Advertising Manager bloody before he fires him.

    Wow…

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Preliminary reports from law enforcement officers indicate the cause may have been an all-weather floor mat from a different Lexus model that interfered with the accelerator.

    Interesting point, there, and one that has utterly failed to make it into reports on the issue, though I don’t know why a full quarter of the AdAge article includes discussion of the floor mat recall (eg, why it’s relevant).

    I’m also disappointed with AdAge’s summary of the campaign. As in “there isn’t any”. They could have discussed the mechanics of the ad instead of wasting a few paragraphs on a tangent.

    That said, what an incredibly stupid campaign it is. I mean, wow, you can tell this got the stamp of approval by hitting all the right buzzwords and without engaging a single brain cell at either S&S or Toyota Marketing. You can tell that this was left to mid-level flunkies and the big boys just rubber stamped it over the phone between rounds of golf.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    I’m much more offended by the fact that this became a lawsuit. Lawyers are ruining the world.

  • avatar
    50merc

    That video is more gross than any Stephen King horror. And even worse–if there can be anything worse–it is counterproductive as a device to sell a product. Saatchi & Saatchi — the whole damn ad agency — deserves to be fired. As does whoever in Toyota OK’d the campaign. And if he or she claims they never saw the ad in advance, fire them for negligence. Unforgivable.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Please someone tell me that the statement “Toyota will spend ONE BILLION DOLLARS in the fourth quarter for advertising” is a misprint in the AdWeek article.

    Toyota sells about 100,000 cars and truck per month, true?

    ONE BILLION DOLLARS to Sell ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND cars and trucks?

    That’s like a gazillion dollars each, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    As insanely bad as the ad campaign is, how in blue blazes did someone at Toyota APPROVE THIS ASSININE CAMPAIGN? Anyone with a whit of sense would realize that this could never sell a single car, and would mostly result in a class-action lawsuit (which they richly deserve).

    And Demetri, you might feel differently about lawyers if it was your girlfriend who had been abused by these morons.

  • avatar
    MMH

    Would have worked better if they’d made it look like it came from GM or Honda at the end…

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    I agree with Demetri. If someone gets scared and physically ill because of a car commercial they saw on television, they have big problems that are not Toyota’s fault.

    Damn lawyers. (Of course, I should admit that I’m a lawyer too. But still.)

  • avatar
    Demetri

    “And Demetri, you might feel differently about lawyers if it was your girlfriend who had been abused by these morons.”

    Apparently we have a different view on who the ultimate moron is in this situation (assuming what this person says is true and it isn’t just money grab). Everyone knows that there is an abundance of stupid marketing folks. I can rarely get through a set of tv commercials without a moment where I feel embarrassed for humanity in general. This individual in question though is either a mondo moron, has a mental illness, or is just a really bad person looking for a payout.

    And I find it a tad offensive that you would suggest that I would have a relationship with someone so mentally bankrupt. If it was my girlfriend, or anyone in my family, I would be monumentally embarrassed.

    I’m so tired of all the lawsuits.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    Since the video was taken down, and no else commenting recently seems to have bothered to find out the details of the ad campaign before posting something to the dint of “abloo bloo overlawyering, who gets scared of a commericial” allow me to explain.

    The Toyota ad campaign involves receiving personally tailored phonecalls, emails, SMS messages, and letters, once a “friend” tricks you into signing up by filling in an online survey.

    It’s not “she saw this on TV and got sick/scared/etc” – she was receiving harassing phone calls, messages, and letters, supposedly from an alcoholic British soccer hooligan with a pitbull who had recently arrived in America, and was coming to where she lived, and knew all sorts of personal information about her.

    I’d say being frightened is a perfectly acceptable reaction for a young woman who starts getting these messages out of the blue.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    And she wasn’t able to connect the dots? You fill out a survey and then you get messages with information derived from what you entered and you can’t figure it out?

    So basically she’s just gullible and dim. Still nothing to sue anyone over, and I’m sure everything is being heavily exaggerated to try to make a case for a nice payday, but I take it back. These marketing hacks take the cake. It’s mind-blowing that they actually paid money for this. Just as I’ll never underestimate the amount of manipulative bullshit that can be spewed by a PR representative, I’ll never again underestimate the dunce potential of marketing personnel and the negative value that they can bring.

  • avatar
    davejay

    And she wasn’t able to connect the dots? You fill out a survey and then you get messages with information derived from what you entered and you can’t figure it out?

    If you watched the video, you’d see that the personal information comes from the so-called friend who’s punking you, not from you via a survey.

    In short: there were no dots to connect for this girl, except that someone she’d never heard of had a bunch of personal information about her and was harassing her constantly over the course of five days.

    This was a very, very, very bad marketing idea.

  • avatar
    Targa Florio

    It has nothing to do with ‘connecting dots’.

    The whole campaign is based on PRANKING someone.
    A third party supplies the name of the ‘victim’ / friend whom they want to prank. The advertising agency then sends out emails, SMS messages etc. to the ‘victim’ to scare them.

    To think that I used to work at that ad agency as a creative… writing TV spots for Toyota…

  • avatar
    Demetri

    This sounds to be custom made to wig out an ex-girlfriend. I could see a lot of slightly ditsy girls falling for something like this. I wonder if she’s suing the friend as well. They ought to be the main target of her ire.

  • avatar
    don1967

    The decision at Toyota to run this campaign must have felt like one of those morning-after situations. You know, when you spend the first fifteen minutes after waking up trying to remember what happened last night?

    And then it slowly comes to you….

    Omigod, did we actually run that ad?

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    I think the whole concept behind this campaign is brilliant from a performance art perspective, and I can even sort of work out how they imagined it would help sell cars by giving Toyota’s reputation a bit of much needed edge in the youth market. However, that edge wouldn’t come until publicity blew up, and for a public blowup something would have to go wrong, so, that is the fatal flaw in the plan…

    As for the so called ‘victim’, I believe it is nothing more than a money grab.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    This is just the latest example of how ‘edgy’ is used to justify coarse vulgar and demeaning behavior.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    This is what happens when you have children making both aesthetic and marketing decisions. The fact that they those responsible may look like adults is simply happenstance.

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