Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Bawl

So Bob Garfield at Ad Age hated the Toyota Hybrid ad, which has the distinction of being the first Super Bowl ad to be conceived by a Hispanic agency. I can already imagine the scores of mentadas de madre he'll be getting from here to eternity from outraged, misunderstood Hispanics who were feeling real proud we finally scored a Super Bowl ad. Not so fast.
I was not as disgusted with the ad as Mr. Garfield, who was particularly enraged by it, and who did not seem to get the point -- that the car runs on two languages, gas and battery power, like Hispanics speak in English and Spanish and seem to run just fine. I don't think this spot was intended to appeal only to Hispanics, but had it been more clever and lived up to the promise of the concept, it would have appealed to everybody, like that effective Salma Hayek ad for Coca-Cola a couple years back. As it is, it's a huge disappointment. It's sappy and it's lazy and it's boring. It wouldn't have hurt to have some humor in the spot, some clever writing, some good acting, instead of an overly eager, grating kid and a dad who seems made out of cardboard, like a cutout version of Ricardo Montalban. Then when one expects a nice little punchline, the kid asks a question I'm still trying to understand the meaning of. He asks his dad, in perfect English: "papá, why did you learn English?" Why does he ask that question? What is that about? Is this an ad for Toyota or an ad to get Hispanics to sign up for ESL classes? At first I thought Bob Garfield was exaggerating by saying the ad is condescending, but the more I think about it, the more I agree.

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