Super Bowl

Toyota Is Back in the Super Bowl for Prius

Hybrid Hasn't Appeared in the Game Since 2005

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A crew shoots the 2016 Prius Super Bowl ad in Chicago.
A crew shoots the 2016 Prius Super Bowl ad in Chicago. Credit: Toyota
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Toyota will tout its newly redesigned 2016 Prius in a Super Bowl ad, using advertising's biggest stage to show off the hybrid car that has appeared in the game just once before.

The 90-second spot will run during the two-minute warning in the first half, kicking off a larger campaign for Prius, according to Toyota. The automaker declined to share creative details other than to say that the ad was humorous and was shot in Los Angeles and Chicago. The agency is Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles.

Toyota is making its fifth straight appearance in the Super Bowl, but the automaker has not dedicated a spot to Prius in the game since 2005, according to Toyota.

The ad comes as much of the momentum in the car industry centers around SUVs and pickup trucks, partly because of cheap gas prices. That makes it interesting timing for an expensive ad touting a gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle such as the Prius, whose sales fell 10.9% in 2015 to 184,794 vehicles. But Toyota is aiming to use the Super Bowl's massive audience to stoke interest for the new 2016 version.

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"The vehicle that revolutionized the way that Americans look at hybrids and came of age with the entire American public watching, is certainly deserving of this grand stage to unveil its next generation model to our guests throughout the country," Jack Hollis, group VP for marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, said in a statement.

The 2016 Prius is longer, lower and wider than its predecessors, offering more interior room, according to Toyota, which has described the design as "'Modern.' 'Dramatic.' 'Emotional.'"

According to fuel economy ratings released in November, the vehicle gets 54 miles per gallon in the city and 50 miles per gallon on the highway, which the automaker said was "better than any mass-produced passenger vehicle available without a plug."

Other auto brands that have confirmed Super Bowl 50 ads are Honda, Hyundai, Acura, Kia, Mini and Buick. Toyota-owned Lexus recently confirmed to Ad Age that it does not have plans to run an ad in the game.

Here is the Super Bowl ad Prius ran in 2005: