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:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=31682248390&ref=mf
http://www.adrants.com/2008/10/saved-by-zero-makes-viewers-into.php

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?

16 Responses to “Toyota’s “Saved by Zero” rates “less than zero.” Unless you consider inspiring hatred as building awareness.”

  1. Pale Writer said

    588-2300, baby!

  2. SRP said

    Joe Rizza Ford is Number One…Number one…Number one. Joe Rizza Ford is number One!

  3. Pale Writer said

    Rockaby your babyyyyyy!

  4. Bernarsi said

    There’s always LUNA carpets but then I don’t want to start a game with this…Or do I?
    -Bern

  5. Andy Webb said

    Why is it that we remember the junk commercials (including the name of the advertiser; for example, Bob’s Discount Furniture in my neck of the woods) and soon forget the super-genius, award-winning ones?

  6. I remember when living in Chicago, Jewel supermaket’s jingle was “Take a new look at an old friend, Jewel”. And, you Mr. Postaer, went around LBC singing, “Take a new look at an old friend’s jewels.” Ha!

  7. SRP said

    Andy-
    But how are they remembered? As crap, so it’s not worthwhile.
    Jim-
    The “Jewels” bit is STILL funny.
    SRP

  8. chad said

    great. now i have that “zero” song stuck in my head. awesomeness.

  9. SRP
    Check out my blog at http://www.jimbobkrause.com. Go to the Kitchen Sink.
    Ferg

  10. Andy Webb said

    Aye, but Bob’s Discount Furniture grows by leaps and bounds. There will soon be a store in every home. Fair is foul, and foul is fair!

  11. mexi said

    one of my son’s first words were LUNA. as in 7-7-3-2-0-2 LUNA!

  12. mnik said

    800-528-2300 Empire!

  13. Joe Dapier said

    I think the difference between spots you love to hate ($5 Footlong) and those you simply hate (Zero) is thus:
    One uses a jingle that is actually relevant to the product and the offer, while the other uses a tune that has nothing in common with said offer other than the word “Zero”.
    It’s that sort of disconnect I find insulting. That, and the fact their media buyer must have been on meth at the time (the thing was literally running 4 times an hour during prime-time.
    Plus, they don’t even use the actual track. Does the Fixx not need the money? I highly doubt it.

  14. SRP said

    Well said, Joe.
    And as for the meth, the media planner is still on it.
    This spot WILL NOT GO AWAY.
    Steff

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