Toyota Now Planting Flowers, Fixing Roads in Broke California

That's Not an Ad; That's Highway Beautification

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Toyota's latest iteration of the 2010 Prius campaign looks like a pile-up of Rose Bowl float, highway beautification and eco-vertising. (Did I just coin something?!) With Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Toyota yesterday unveiled a giant flowerbed-like display along the Pasadena freeway that's meant to be at once Prius advertising and aesthetic relief for L.A. commuters. With a little bit of sustainability throw in. Saatchi & Saatchi, L.A., brokered the campaign, which also includes infrastructure improvements along roadways for the city (as in, you let me plant flowers in the shape of vague advertising along your highway, and I'll fix your sprinkler system).

Partnering with California's department of transportation, Caltrans, a floral outdoor specialist, Greenroad Media, created this 30-foot-by-60-foot display of a car (yep, that's what it's supposed to be) couched in a rising sun with more than 20,000 live flowers. Chalk the blurry image and lack of logo up to federal regulations that require the designs to be non-commercial and approved by Caltrans. As part of the deal, Greenroad also will plant shrubs and update local infrastructure surrounding the "floralscape," as the Manhattan Beach-based company calls it.

"Through this innovative partnership with Toyota, we are able to improve the look of freeway landscape, make necessary upgrades to aging or damaged irrigation systems, and save tax dollars," said Caltrans chief deputy district director Raja Mitwasi in a statement.

This Pasadena freeway floralscape is the first of nine that will appear alongside California freeways in L.A and San Francisco for Toyota. In total, Greenroad has secured 150 floralscape sites with departments of transportation in California and Texas. Toyota is Greenroad's first client.

As if advertising made out of plants weren't green enough, a Greenroad spokesman says the floralscape flowers are all locally grown in recycled plastic crates and maintained with non-potable water, solar electricity and ecologically friendly insect and fungi repellent.

The Toyota floralscapes are the latest iteration of Saatchi's recent Prius work, which also includes solar-powered outdoor and spots with kids in flower suits. I think there's a joke about kiddies standing at the side of the road in their daisy hats in there somewhere.

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