Supporting the main feature . . . too well!

The role of a support act is very important. Warm up the audience and don’t outshine the next act. And while this Toyota Ad from the Super Bowl certainly catches the attention of any young people (and those young at heart), the memorable message may not have been what the advertiser was expecting.


I love The Muppets. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef . . . I even went on the Muppets-inspired Disney World ride FOUR TIMES! And I’m not even in their target demographic which is why they make such a fantastic marketing tool. But when using a brand as powerful and meaningful as The Muppets, they have to be careful not to outshine the product they are there to sell.

Check out this Toyota Ad from the Super Bowl featuring the all-encompassing selling power of The Muppets. (For email subscribers, click here)

Terry Crews is driving the car. The song is about the fantastic features of the car. You see pictures of the huge boot space, the great capacity for seating and you even see the car in a parade. But yet I walk away thinking ‘I really have to go and see that new The Muppets Movie 2’, simply because anybody who grew up with The Muppets resonates with the brand so strongly that they appear to overtake the central focus of the ad . . . the car.

However, in saying that, there may be some method behind the Muppets-madness. Children have a much higher tolerance for re-watching. In fact, they often want to watch the same funny clip over and over and over and over and over.

Of course this ad is aimed at adults who remember growing up with The Muppets and are happy that they are making a comeback. But it is also targeted at children.

The Muppets are rather popular with today’s young children, which means that they will get their parents to watch the ad. And the main demographic who are going to be in the market for a Toyota Highlander are parents with children that need ferrying around – hence the emphasis on space.

If the children can get their parents to watch The Muppets segment then the advertisement has truly done its job because the children will be talking about it which will serve as a reminder trigger for the parents.

So while the use of The Muppets may overshine the car, they may actually be serving their purpose because I have watched the ad so many times that I can tell you that it is about a Toyota Highlander. (And if you know me, then you know that is a big achievement with my very limited knowledge about automobiles).

But at the same time, it is like dealing with fire. It can be spectacular if done properly. But if you make a mistake, then you just get a rather messy disaster!