By on November 18, 2011

As an amateur student of automotive advertising, I’m fascinated by this ad for the Prius V. It starts off reasonably, showing all the enormous things that will fit inside the new, larger Prius… but since the client always wants his product in the shot for the maximum amount of airtime, the visuals have to be twisted to put the Prius V inside the things which fit inside a Prius V. In the memetically-omnipresent words of Xzibit… sup dawg, we heard you like Priuses, so we put a Prius inside your Prius so you can drive a Prius while you hold a party inside an amp inside a Prius.

The red guitar amplifier featured throughout the ad is a Dr. Z Maz 18, which sells for about $1,700. (Nope, I don’t have one; I filled the “18-watt” spot in my home performance space with a Phil X Evil Robot.) The Maz 18 is an awfully hip piece of equipment and carries a lot of credibility among the twentysomething set. With that in mind, I went out to see what people on the Internet thought of the ad. Excerpts and an interesting photo after the jump.

From Harmony Central:

“They’ve crossed over to the mainstream. We need a new underground hipster amp maker”

“blind spots and shitty handling…”

“every prius I see on the road is driving slow as fuck.”


“I saw it as well. Good advertisement for Dr. Z. It didn’t make me want to buy a Toyota but I think I might need another amp. Commercialism at its finest :-)”

“I saw it too. I had the TV on but the sound was down. I was too busy trying to check out the amp to catch the car company. I think it had only a few control knobs. It was strang — the amp was sittign inside the car, and didn’t the commercial superimpose some video over the grille cloth, like the amp was a TV set — or am I having another flashback?”

From Birds And Moons — The PRS Forum

“Dang – thought maybe it was a promo tie-in; like when you buy a Subaru, you used to get some kind of snow board. Oh well – will have to watch. The wife even noticed the Honda (?) commercial where they pop the back of the mini-van and there’s a Marshall half stack.”

“I have two Prii. Usually, one of ’em has a Axe-FX II in the back of it. Maybe, I ought to get a Maz-38 for the other.”

“having said that, as an employee for a honda dealership, i can’t help but believe there is an ulterior motive at play. think about it. sure, honda’s add with the new odyssey is uber cool with the judas priest song and marshall half stack. however, while marshalls are recognizable, their current offerings pale in comparison to the plexis and jcms. some say they are just riding on their reputation and history. the toyota, however, has a killer sounding boutique amp who’s quality is far superior to the former amp.”

That was about all I could find. If Toyota was trying to reach out to actual guitarists, they didn’t exactly knock it out of the park. On the other hand, however, Toyota’s probably smart enough to know that your average guitarist couldn’t afford a replacement tire for a first-gen Prius, much less a brand-new V model. As for that “Honda/Marshall” ad, you can find comments on it at The Marshall Forum. Be warned: this thread will destroy your faith in humanity.

Honestly, I’d expected that more young musicians would find the Prius interesting, relevant, and desirable. Perhaps it’s a hit with the 40-somethings who can afford both a new Prius and a Dr. Z amp. The next Prius ad could run something like this:

Hillbilly in truck:”Hey, how many watts you got in there?”

Regular Guy:“Eighteen, plus 250KwH.”

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21 Comments on “Dr. Z Offers A Prescription For More Interior Space… But What Do The Patients Think?...”

  • avatar

    I don’t know if they used CGI or not, but if they actually mocked up a big amp, that’d make a great performance stage.

    Jack, for a low power amp, Fender Champ or Gibson Skylark?

  • avatar

    Oh boy. There’s nothing I like more than getting buried in the mysticism and half truths that is Amplifier snobbery.
    Cue the tube-trolls.

    Also, who takes their Amplifier to the grocery store?

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing wrong with audio and sound gear that glows in the dark. I still use a Fisher FM-100-S tuner.

      When he lived in the Detroit area, Bruce Ignater lived less than a mile from me and I had him tune up my Silvertone Twin Twelve (by Danelectro) for use as a harp amp. He replaced the power tubes with a couple of nearly brand new output tubes that had been swapped out for a guitarist. Ignater said that he had a drawer full of perfectly fine sounding tubes that guitarists had convinced themselves of not sounding to their liking, even though he, the amp guru, didn’t think they sounded significantly different.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of this: (how does I embed video?)

    Now, if only the car actually could do double duty as an amp, straight from the factory… that would really be something.

  • avatar

    That’s what the 2nd-gen Matrix/Vibe should have looked like.

  • avatar

    The only thing I know about this is how my synth friend mocked guitar players for using tubes in a quest for warmer sound (after I demonstrated him Mugi Kotobuki’s KORG with a tube).

  • avatar

    It is a girly ad.
    The music sounds like “She and Him” and the look is Zooey Deschanel. It looks like they are trying to reach a 30-40 year old woman aware that she may need to start thinking about a man and kids. The Prius V is presented as the answer to a lady aware that her next car might need a back seat for a kid.

    Wow. Perhaps that may explain why the car looks like a vibrator…
    A vibrator with a hatch. Hey, it’s electric too – and how many cars looked like electric shavers?
    Why can’t the Prius V look like it satisfies?

    That is not a guy’s car.

  • avatar

    Damn, wrong Dr. Z.

  • avatar

    Hillbilly in truck:”Hey, how many watts you got in there?”

    Regular Guy:“Eighteen, plus 250KwH.”


    Hillbilly in truck:”Hey, how many horsiepowers you got in there?”

    Regular Guy:“Twenty-four, plus 7 gallons of gas.”

  • avatar

    That was a very creative and strategic way for the production team to shoot the interior. they pan up for the sunroof then pan down to just the Entune without showing the whole IP, which is an enormous step back from the Prius and probably the worst part about this car (other than the lack of a 3rd row and Lithium Ion battery.

  • avatar

    I think its just cheesy marketing designed to pander to guys in thier late-30s to late-40s. I have noticed that a large subset of that population is REALLY into guitars and music, my brother is one of them. He barely plays, but he has always wanted to, and is a total music snob. He was very excited a few months ago over finding some really obscure high end stereo for sale used, and his wife had approved the purchase… I have no idea what it was. He is also a devout greenie. He also finally makes enough money to buy a Prius (and a decent electric guitar, which I think he may have recently picked up as well). I never really got into music like that, but I am sure I am the one in the minority. We have no less than 3 weekly hipster newspapers completely full of music reviews and concert ads, and barely 2 pages of one paper each week writing about cars. Meanwhile I am going crazy today because although I know there is a car show around here somewhere, I have no earthly idea where and no ideas on how to find out!

    I think that market is big enough for Toyota to justify marketing to it… I think you have it backwards Jack, its not guitarists who hope to afford a Prius, its guys who can afford a Prius, and always wanted to be guitarists. :)

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