Toyota Motor Corp. is making its biggest Super Bowl ad buy ever with two spots push its global Olympics and Paralympics sponsorships — one of which stars Canadian Paralympic skier Lauren Woolstencroft — and a third ad that will continue its long-running "Let's Go Places" campaign.
The automaker had originally planned two 60-second ads, but added a 30-second ad at the last minute, a spokesman said.
The buys make the company an outlier in the automotive industry, whose Super Bowl presence is down a bit from last year. But it's not surprising Toyota is going big, considering its relationship with NBC, which will broadcast Sunday's game. The timing also coincides with the Winter Olympics, which start just days after the Super Bowl. Toyota sat out last year's game.
Canadians will be able to watch American ads on American affiliate stations during Sunday’s Super Bowl for the second consecutive year. That’s because the CRTC ended its long-standing practice of substituting the U.S. feed with the Canadian simulcast and Canadian ads. Of course, anyone with the ability to pick up over-the-air reception of the game can also see the U.S. ads.
The automaker released two of its ads Friday. One 60-second spot, which will run in the game's first commercial slot after kickoff, is called "Good Odds." It portrays the journey of Woolstencroft from infant to gold medalist. The spot depicts her odds winning a medal declining from astronomical to doable as she perseveres through training, from childhood into adulthood.
The ad continues Toyota's "Start Your Impossible" Olympics campaign that began in October and plugs the company as a "mobility" solutions provider whose goods and services extend beyond cars to include technologies such as wearable robotic leg braces. Toyota's traditional car lineup is notably absent from the ad, which ends by declaring that "when we are free to move, anything is possible." The campaign is a dual effort by Saatchi & Saatchi in the U.S. and Dentsu in Tokyo.
A 30-second Olympics spot, which was also released Friday, is called "Mobility Anthem." It is is a cut-down version of a spot that first aired in October that squeezed 100 people — ages 1 to 100 — into a 120-second video that combined scenes of athletic training with Toyota's mobility technologies such as a "human support robot."
"This is an unprecedented opportunity for our team at Toyota to share messages of unity, friendship, diversity and perseverance," says Ed Laukes, group vice president for Toyota marketing at Toyota Motor North America. "With the Super Bowl and the Olympics just days apart on NBC, we're excited to join fans' enthusiasm for these two world-class events and connect with them by sharing meaningful and inspiring TV spots."
Toyota will release the third Super Bowl ad on Saturday. The 60-second spot will air prior to the halftime show, which Toyota sponsors. NBC Sports anchor Dan Patrick will introduce the ad, called "One Team." Toyota in a statement describes the ad as an "amusing, light-hearted narrative illustrating how people from diverse backgrounds unite to celebrate the spirit of what brings them together, their shared passion of sports." It continues the "Let's Go Places" campaign by Saatchi Los Angeles.
Despite Toyota's push, the presence of auto brands will not match last year's game, barring any last-minute surprises. In the 2017 game, eight automakers ran a total of 10 ads.
But this year only four auto brands have confirmed running a total of six ads so far: Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and Lexus.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will likely jump in, but spokespeople have yet to confirm its buy, which would probably include Jeep and perhaps Ram. Audi, another regular advertiser, has also yet to confirm its plans. A spokeswoman has not replied to repeated requests for comment this week.
If Audi and Fiat Chrysler make significant buys, then there is a chance autos would come close to matching last year's activity.