Toyota’s “Saved by Zero” rates “less than zero.” Unless you consider inspiring hatred as building awareness.
October 20, 2008
This car commercial is driving me crazy. And like any good screw to the brain, it keeps turning and turning. Not since “Save Big Money at Menards” has an advertising jingle so infiltrated the mind space of my household. It is like flu, a cult even. My little girls gallop about our home singing of their savior Zero.
At first I laughed at this lunacy. Hearing my 7-year old humming the lyric while playing Legos, I couldn’t help but feel a sick pride about our industry’s raw power. (Just last week I’d blogged about my own ultra-crappy jingle cum phenomenon: Not your Father’s Oldsmobile.) Anyway, like most forms of pride it quickly deteriorated into something dire: This is an awful song in an awful commercial. Shut up, already!
Despite it’s ubiquity and cheapo-repetitive production values, the eye of this spot’s awfulness is, absolutely, its music. “Saved by Zero” is a crap re-recording of a crap hit from eighties new wave has-beens, The Fixx. I’ve no idea the song’s original meaning but it’s painfully obvious the current adaptation: zero percent financing on a new Toyota.
Our economy is a wreck. Of course good deals are what panicky car sellers will be shouting about. But this commercial was produced before the markets crashed. The serendipitous use of the word “saved” is merely coincidence and cannot redeem this commercial. Nor should it. For the most part regional/retail car advertising always blows. The agencies that make this chum are usually second and third tier shops, often at odds with the car maker’s higher profile brand agencies. Commercials like these are the closest thing to junk mail on TV.
While searching for an image or video, I discover that a colony of haters for this ultra-annoying spot exists on Facebook! Then I see Adrants ranting about the spot as well:
So this paltry commercial has its own cult of personality. And we are growing, for here I am, and so too the spot. Would you believe the thing ran while I was writing this, watching Game 7 of the ALCS? Sure ‘nuff.
Lord knows we have bigger problems than posed by this silly commercial. Besides, when Saved by Zero is kaput another odious paean to a numeral will replace it. “Five dollar foot long,” anyone?