Toyota Takes A Chance

You know those pictures on the internet that make you think you’re looking at something stereotypically appealing or attractive, only to find out it’s something totally different and gross? You know, like that one that makes you think you’re looking at a woman’s hoo-ha but it actually turns out to be a McDonald’s cheeseburger? Ohhh, don’t act all innocent. It’s in your inbox. And you know it.

Following this trend of tricking the eye, and the, er, other part, is a racy new car commercial. However, this ad takes the concept to the next level, and makes customers redefine what they see as beautiful.

The campaign, which comes courtesy of Toyota Japan, features 19-year-old androgynous male model Stav Strashko strutting his “stuff” on the runway behind a back drop that is the new Toyota hatchback. The Japanese tagline that runs across the screen at the end translates to “Not trendy, not casual, not for everyone.”

This is what the advertising biz refers to as a risk. First of all, not only does the ad feature an already-controversial subject (an androgynous model), but Toyota makes it even more controversial with by leading the audience to believe that he is a naked woman. It kicks dirt in the face of the intolerant, makes us both consciously and unconsciously reconsider what we think of as attractive, and lastly, and most importantly, has sparked a lot of water-cooler conversation this week.

Since going live on YouTube Sunday, the ad has already garnered more than half a million views in addition to the exposure it gets on Japanese television.

“I realized that I was androgynous when I began to model,” Strashko said in a recent interview. “All the stylists put women’s clothes on me, and then it struck me that I really look like a woman. … I get mistaken for a girl all the time, and I’m used to it now. Usually when people talk to me they soon realize I’m a boy, but sometimes people just keep treating me as a girl, not realizing who I really am. I believe that the mind sees what it wants.”

This is a key principle to work with when conceiving ad concepts: In the relationship between ad creator and viewer, the latter is entrusted with most of the power, and what you make of an ad like this, is solely up to you.

We absolutely commend Toyota for taking such a chance. What do you think? Love it? Or hate it? Sound off in the comments section below!

 

 

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