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Toyota’s “You Don’t Own Me” is Less Stupid, Still Laughable

I’ve often said Honda and Toyota have had some of the industry’s stupidest advertising. It’s safe to say most of their efforts to reach the Millennial demographic have just been embarrassing. Now along comes this spot for the Corolla using Leslie Gore’s classic 1963 song, “You Don’t Own Me.” Great tune, great hook, great production by the incomparable Quincy Jones, enough said. With a hook like that, the spot will get your attention.

Finally, a Toyota spot that is less stupid. But it’s all downhill from there.

According to Miriam Tremelling, writing about the effort in Campaign US, the ad’s best performance is among 21- to 35-year-olds, and displays stronger Desire and Relevance scores among males in that age group. To me, it’s mind-boggling that this demographic group, which puts strong emphasis on individuality and self-expression, would be interested in such a plain vanilla car. And males? C’mon, the Corolla is a girl’s car, plain and simple.

I don’t care what song they use, or how “empowering” the song’s message is, Toyota’s effort to convince this demographic that driving a Corolla will somehow empower them is about as laughable as their recent effort to convince you there’s something “bold” about the Camry.

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Mike Eisgrau
Dir. of Business Development

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John Wark
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