Toyota gets ‘serious’ about play with Avalon campaign lead by I Tonya director

Toyota wants people to race and play in its new 2019 Avalon model, according to a new campaign, ‘Serious Play,’ that dares drivers to experience adventure, spontaneity and playfulness.

The campaign looks to drive home the notion that the completely redesigned Avalon – designed, engineered and assembled in the US – has everything drivers need to get more out of life. The fully-integrated campaign was developed between two of Toyota’s agencies of record, including Saatchi & Saatchi and Burrell Communications.

Two of the campaign’s national 30-second TV spots, ‘Let’s Race’ and ‘Trojan Horse,’ were directed by renowned director Craig Gillespie, most recently known for the award-winning film I, Tonya. In ‘Let’s Race,’ a man is seen driving his Avalon through his suburban neighborhood, racing against everything from kids on bikes to squirrels running. Then, it opens up to the highway where he drives against a racing boat, finally challenging a passenger jet getting ready to take off. In ‘Trojan Horse’ a couple pulls up to fancy restaurants and gatherings, their Avalon giving them ins to places they might not normally go. As they flee a wedding they weren’t invited to, the man starts the Avalon from his Apple Watch as they drive away smiling. Both spots are tagged with 'Play just got serious'.

A third 30-second spot, ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ was created by Burrell and directed by Daniel Azancot. In it, a man calls for his wife, but sees a packed suitcase with a postcard on it that says ‘Catch me if you can.’ He gets in his hybrid Avalon and races through the city and on to a coastal highway, where he catches up to her for a romantic weekend.

According to the release, the commercials were developed using multicultural insights aimed at a transcultural audience. The campaign also includes a series of digital videos created to tell stories of an impulsive quest for adventure. All feature certain aspects of the Avalon, from Adaptive Variable Suspension to Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity.

“The Toyota team has transformed the driving experience for our flagship sedan to set a new standard for the premium segment and satiate drivers’ desire for authenticity, spontaneity and exploration,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president, marketing, Toyota Motor North America.

The ‘Serious Play’ TV spots will air in select targeted cable programming across NBCU, Fox Networks, Viacom, Turner and Discovery Cable networks. Additional elements of the campaign include dynamic digital, audio as well as print ads in high profile publications. Overall, this campaign is slated to deliver 3.1 billion impressions.

See the three TV spots by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

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