Toyota is kicking off its global Olympics sponsorship with a new ad that squeezes 100 people—ages 1 to 100—into a 120-second video that positions the automaker as a mobility provider, creating more than just cars.
The term "mobility" has emerged as a buzzword in automotive marketing as brands look to remain relevant in the age of car- and bike-sharing and self-driving vehicles that are expected to hit roads in the coming years. Ford, for instance, used the theme for a 2017 Super Bowl ad that spotlighted its vehicles and services as a means to help people get unstuck from sticky transportation situations. Toyota uses an emotional and inspirational tone, befitting of Olympics advertising.
The ad, called "Mobility for All," spotlights 100 people in every stage of life, from a toddler to a Paralympic fencer to an elderly woman getting assistance from a Toyota "human support robot." It is part of a broader campaign called "Start Your Impossible" that will launch Wednesday in 21 countries, marking the start of Toyota's new global sponsorship of the Olympics and Paralympic games.
Toyota in 2015 struck a deal with the International Olympic Committee making the automaker the official "mobility" sponsor for the games starting with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea through the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Toyota agencies Saatchi & Saatchi in the U.S. and Dentsu in Tokyo teamed up on the effort, which Toyota says is its first global campaign. It will eventually run in 40 countries.
The debut ad features 16 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. It was produced in five countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, South Africa and Thailand) and took about 736 hours to film and edit, according to Toyota. A 60-second version was created for TV. The campaign will include nine more ads that will include a range of Toyota mobility products. The first ad includes products such as a concept car meant for autonomous driving, an electric-powered "personal mobility vehicle" called "I-ROAD," and a wearable robotic leg brace designed to help disabled people walk.
"At Toyota, we have always defined mobility as providing people with the opportunity to move freely, and we believe the time has come to share our mobility vision and solutions with everyone," Jack Hollis, Group VP and general manager for Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement. "We believe that movement is a human right. With the 'Start Your Impossible' campaign, we aim to inspire people and as a company, aspire to solve challenges and create solutions to mobility barriers that limit human potential."
Toyota created a new website, MobilityForAll.com, that has features making it accessible for users who are visually or hearing impaired, blind or cognitively impaired. For instance blind people can use so-called audio-based screen reading technology. Some of the features are still under development.