Toyota needs to rethink the message....

Anyone else want to smack the smug out of the entitled little shit in the new 2011 Highlander commercials? *

Or is it just me?

I know, I know! He's an "actor" saying lines. And the first one was cute, in a "oh look, a hipster kid, precocious and smart and sardonic. Ha ha!". But as they keep rolling out new ads, I find myself feeling more and more annoyed, and yes, a little angry.

What do these commercials really say? Are they saying, "Our Highlanders are awesome! Go buy one!". Or are they saying, "Hey, modern parents. Don't you desperately want to your kids to think you're cool, and don't you desperately crave and seek their approval and the approval of their friends?".

I'll tell you the message I'm getting from it, and this is ONLY from my perspective. The perspective of a lower-income single mom who is grateful to have a vehicle that works...it's pandering to the breed of parent that is currently the darling of advertisers: the younger, somehow always affluent, tragically hip, good looking (or at least as good as a Brazilian blowout and Anthropologie can make them look) and of course, always accessorized perfectly with their darling moppets who are dressed in shrunken versions of mommy and daddy's casually yet oh-so painfully choreographed put-together outfits. Right down to the skinny jeans. It's not emphasizing the things that should really be at the forefront of any decision making involving a new car: is it safe? Economical? At least the tiniest bit enviro-friendly? Not, will this make my kids look up to me and respect me? If I buy this vehicle, will I be the Cool Dad/Mom?

And on another note, what message is it sending to the oodles of kids who see this? In the wake of the recent bullying epidemic which has led to the actual DEATHS of some kids, is it really wise to encourage kids to toss about monikers such as "dorks", "lame" and "nerd"? Yes, I realize that MoppetBoy is using these words to brand his parents, but imagine if it was him describing a classmate whose parents had the audacity to drive anything less than the giant, shiny rolling great-room that is the Toyota Highlander?

In the one ad where the Highlander family pulls up to the Nerd family, complete with NerdMom and NerdDad harmonizing "Angel of the Morning" in the front seat, take a look at the kid in the backseat. He's not sporting the current mod kid hairstyle, he's not wearing anything remotely trendy or hip. He's supposed to be a nerd. And the Highlander kid is telling him this, in his own way.

I think the thing that bothers me about this part of the Highlander Message is that I work around kids. I see kids with parents who are millionaires playing side by side with kids who come to school from one bedroom Section 8 apartments. And they like each other. Their hearts are still good, still pure and still unbiased. That's how it should be.

I know, I may be blowing this thing way out of proportion. After all, it's just a commercial, right?

We all know that no one has ever been influenced by the media. Maybe I do need to chill.

* management would like to clarify that no one is seriously advocating physical harm. Maybe just throwing something soft, like a rolled up sock, at the t.v. screen. Ok?


  1. THANK YOU!!! No, I cannot stand those commercials. First of all, did the friend's mom adopt this little punk??? Because in the first commercial his dad had panelled minivan and he compliments the friend's mom on her car...the next one the Highlander is his parents' car. And is his dad up front in the driver's seat wearing his black socks and sandals, or did he instantly get more hip when he switched to this vehicle (this commercial has been the topic of conversation here, lol).

    If they were comparing it to a similar new vehicle it wouldn't bother me as much. But I don't know any middle class or affluent people who go out and buy a @20 year vehicle because they just can't get that panelling-on-powder blue look in a 2010 model, people generally buy old cars out of economic necessity. And really, that 1994 Taurus doesn't have bluetooth, XM or DVD? Do we need a commercial to point that out? Ugh. Kids realize the difference between the "haves" and "have nots" soon enough, some are helped along earlier by their parents, but do we really need Toyota doing it too? No.

  2. i hate "jump on the badwagon: type commercials.

  3. Holla. It's just another good reason to get rid of regular TV.

  4. Totally agree with everything you said. Great post!


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