We’re in a recession. Only the well-to-do folks with bottomless pockets out there are immune to the financial woes currently affecting millions of Americans. If you’re anything like me you’re cutting corners wherever you can, whether that means getting rid of HBO, eliminating going out to restaurants or making the painstaking decision to seriously curb your addiction to high class prostitutes.
The point is, everyone knows times are tough. Everyone, it seems, except Toyota.
When I first saw this I was in shock. And when that wore off, I skipped straight to anger.
Here we are in one of the worst financial situations since the Great Depression. Unemployment is rampant, job creation is nil and foreclosures are spiking faster than Tiger’s 3-wood at last call. So with Americans teetering on the edge of crisis and struggling to stretch every dollar to the max, I have to ask what marketing genius at Toyota thought it’d be a good idea to label prudent consumers as “lame?”
The dad in the commercial with the humiliated son is driving a beat up old station wagon. He probably doesn’t have any payments on it, thus saving him several hundred dollars a month. But instead of continuing to use that money to pay down his mortgage or squirrel it away for that little brat’s college tuition, Toyota thinks he should spend $35,000 on a new vehicle just to avoid being thought of as “lame” by his spoiled son.
Talk about not being in touch with your target demographic.
And what is up with that annoying kid? First of all, he’s like 9 years old and wearing skinny jeans. And in other versions of the commercial, he pulls up next to another kid whose parents are driving an old beater. The uncool kid’s parents are singing and trying to engage their son while Skinny Jean Boy boasts about his “Kid Cave” and simply blocks it all out by plugging in his headphones to watch TV in the back of his car while his parents drive. The message is supposed to be the parents ignoring their son are the good guys while the happy-but-albeit-dorkish parents are the dolts.
Because nothing says good parenting like making sure your kid is glued to a TV even in the car.
Look, I know Toyota is out to sell cars. And in the interest of full disclosure, I drive a Toyota Highlander. A 2002 Toyota Highlander with 130,000 miles on it. I’m just confused why Toyota decided to go in this direction after their notorious recalls regarding brake problems, steering issues and — of course — the sticky accelerators that allegedly sent several people careening to their deaths at 120 MPH. After all of that, they actually thought the best course of action was to insult the discerning customer while pimping their new product with a message of “your kids will finally think you’re cool.”
The only thing lame here is Toyota. And that little kid.