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In Movies & TV Commentary

A person made up of people is the core of the Prius spot.

OnMedia: Does creepy work in selling the Toyota Prius?


The creepiest commercial on TV these days comes from Toyota, pushing its Prius.

You've likely caught the spot, called "People-Person," which features an enormous man composed of a bunch of other people, with his nose formed by somebody's backside. The person disassembles into individual people who then get into a group of different Prius models.

It's reminiscent of the surreal dance company Pilobolus. But it's also reminiscent of a nightmare I might have after eating a pizza right before bed.

And, somehow, it's supposed to sell the Prius.

Here's the spot:

The ad agency behind it, Saatch & Saatchi LA describes the ad thusly:

"The spot is a triumph for production in its ability to tell a story using a variety of visual effects, some technology-based and other human-engineered. Parts of the spots were shot live-action using large-scale, custom-made props, including a toothbrush and toothpaste, shoes and a suitcase; others were shot on a miniature set depicting an attractive suburban neighborhood; and there were elements produced in a computer graphics environment."

There's no need to comment on Saatchi & Saatchi calling its own ad "a triumph." We can just chuckle and move on.

But let me make clear that if I was in the market for a new car, my first choice would be a Toyota (I've had Toyotas since the mid-1970s and continue to love my 11-year-old Camry). And a new car for me could easily be a Prius. I have friends with them, and they're great cars.

So, they have me already.

I'll also admit I'm not a fan of things like Pilobolus. Just because things are hard to pull off doesn't make them particularly entertaining – or "a triumph."

But I'll say finally that I don't understand how stuff like this sells cars. I know, I know, it gets folks to talk about it. I'm not convinced all that talking translates to sales.

What do you think about the Prius "People Person" spot? Does it creep you out, is it creative and does it work?

On TV: I won't believe it until a deal is done, but "Arrested Development" creator Mitch Hurwitz was talking this weekend about a new limited series of the former Fox sitcom and then a big-screen movie, probably in 2013.

  • Although NBC's "Playboy Club" and "Free Agents" are tanking in the ratings, the early word is that they're not being axed anytime soon.
  • Speaking of NBC, the network has delayed the season premiere of "Chuck" a week, until Oct. 28. Also premiering that night will be the new fairy tale-themed cop shop, "Grimm."
  • Former NBC/CNBC financial anchor Erin Burnett's new "OutFront" debuts at 6 this evening on CNN.
  • TVGuide.com interviews Lucy Arnaz about "I Love Lucy," which turns 60 years old this month. Lucy says she only appeared once on the show, sort of. "My mother was pregnant with me in the pilot — does that count?"

Six days until "6 Days to Air": Here's the trailer for the documentary coming Sunday night looking at how the "South Park" team puts an episode together:

Talkbacks

Idle1 | Oct. 5, 2011 at 12:22 p.m. (report)

I disagree. The "people man" looks like a giant from a children's fairy tale--ugly but benign. And a vintage Kinks song in the background? That alone would sell me on the Prius, were I in the market for a new car.

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LeSigh | Oct. 4, 2011 at 1:23 p.m. (report)

You're right, talking doesn't necessarily mean sales, but no hype means no sales as well. You wouldn't buy a unknown product would you? Creepy? Sure why not? But it got you to write about it didn't it? Advertising is about being noticed and talked about. I think it's successful in that venture don't you agree? Not saying you shouldn't have an opinion... Just saying you may have missed the point. Anyway, I thought the commercial was very well done. I enjoyed it and I know many others did as well. Your article was the equivalent of a child saying "eww" because you just didn't get it.

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TosaJim | Oct. 3, 2011 at 1:26 p.m. (report)

Thanks Tim, I feel better now..that ad is very creepy. Just shows you the power some ad agencies have over clients.

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devidia | Oct. 3, 2011 at 11:46 a.m. (report)

Wow. That is creepy. And anytime someone's nose is formed by someone's backside, the results can't be good.

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