Toyota, which has had product placement in “‘Modern Family’ since it debuted 11 years ago, is paying tribute to the ABC sitcom with a custom ad that will run tonight before the series finale.
The spot, created in partnership with Disney Advertising Sales, features the Toyota Highlander driving past animated versions of houses that have been a part of the show. There are references to past episodes, such as one in which a family portrait got messy after a lawn sprinkler went off.
Originally the ad was planned as a live-action shoot, but production was halted because of the coronavirus outbreak. As result, the brand used animation and a voiceover from Ty Burell, who plays Phil Dunphy. The custom ad will run tonight during “A Modern Farewell,” a one-hour documentary preceding the series finale.
Toyota was the first brand to strike a product placement deal with the show when it debuted in 2009. The Claire Dunphy character has driven a Sienna and a Camry, for instance, while Mitch Pritchett and Cam Tucker have driven a Prius. Toyota’s early involvement in the show paid off after it went on to become a hit. By 2012, advertisers were clamoring to have their goods featured in episodes, but producers were selective in order to avoid over-exploitation, according to an Ad Age report at the time.
“As the first brand to execute an integration with ‘Modern Family,’ the team at Toyota is thrilled to see it come full circle 11 seasons later with this beloved and celebrated series,” Lorenzo Harris, who oversees integrated marketing operations at Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement. “We’re hopeful that in this moment, we can toast the show with a one-of-a-kind tribute and help fans celebrate all the love, laughter and memories that it brought over the years.”
Thirty-second ads in “Modern Family” cost $148,228 during its final season, according to Ad Age’s ad pricing chart. That is down 10 percent from last year and a far cry from the $330,908 the series garnered for a 30-second spot at its peak in 2012, when it came in at No. 3 on Ad Age’s list.
Contributing: Jeanine Poggi