Ad of the Day: Toyota creates surreal short film series exploring time travel on the road

Toyota has introduced a cinematic short film series based on its “Let’s Go Places” tagline, that aims to acquaint audiences with the Prius and the Camry.

Directed by award-winning director Vania Heymann, the two films are part of The Anthology Series and explore the theme of time travel while on the road. Inspired by Charlie Brooker's dark comedy series Black Mirror, the films mark a tactical step into branded content specifically designed for audiences at the cinema. The films also have an online presence but with no media or paid push behind them.

“The films stand alone, but feel cohesive with the surreal ‘time travel’ theme. We wanted to draw our viewers in. The goal was to get audiences emotionally invested in our characters and stories, which capture the spirit of “Let’s Go Places” in unexpected and thought-provoking ways”, said Daniel Barak, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

"We wanted to transport the audience in ways that aren’t possible in a traditional TV spot, and also respect the moment that our audience is in. I personally don’t like seeing regular ads when I’m in cinema mode, just because someone had an extra media buy," Barak added.

The first film traces a woman's car journey as she drives along a motorway, she catches a glimpse of her future self as she watches herself age dramatically. As she increases her speed, her age reverses again until a child is at the wheel.

The second follows the maddening experience of a man as he drives round a roundabout, picking up the same person over and over again, culminating in a bizarre plot twist as a car full of identical women drives off without him singing and playing instruments.

"From the very beginning of the project, the creative process was a full collaboration between director Vania Heymann and myself. We came up with the concept for the series, and then wrote the stories," said Barak.

"Some of our influences for the series were films like the brilliant Argentinian anthology film "Wild Tales", and Black Mirror. Also, we were influenced by films that just have fun with the concept of time, such as Groundhog Day, Benjamin Button, and Back to the Future."

The Anthology Series is currently competing for different categories at Cannes Lions 2017.

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