Toyota's holiday film, a 100-second spot which premiered on Tuesday night on NBC before the mid-season finale of "This Is Us," is a heartwarming effort telling the tale of a special family gift filmed in a style similar to the top-rated show.
The ad, by Saatchi & Saatchi L.A., aired between "The Voice" and "This is Us" as the only ad in the break. Deliberately crafted and filmed in a style similar to "This Is Us," it takes nostalgic cues from that drama with a tale of two generations.
The story and centers around a special tree, carved with the initials of a couple, "R+S" on an anniversary in the 70s. When it falls down, their daughter's family has it sawn up and loaded into the back of their Toyota truck. During the holiday season the now grandparents visit their daughter's home to find a wood-framed photo of themselves as a young couple in front of their special tree. Then, they see the inscription of their initials "R+S" on the new dining table and realize it's their beloved tree.
The spot was directed by Lance Acord of Park Pictures and stars a real family of actors including grandparents, their daughter and her husband and children. Acord, who filmed in Sonoma and cast a family from Santa Rosa, says in a statement: "The story comes to life because it represents real families. The central point of the narrative, the tree, is also a metaphor for life and the underlying theme of a matriarch passing on the torch from one generation to the next."
Ed Laukes, group vice president, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America, says in a statement: "The winter holiday season seems to get longer every year with retail advertising starting earlier than the year before. Of course we have retail ads just like our competitors, but we believe it's also important to remind customers of the true meaning of the holiday season. Through proprietary research, we identified a way to break through the clutter with an emotional message and resonate with consumers. In addition, the 100-second spot was shot in a style similar to 'This is Us,' and because the ad has context, we believe the relevance will increase the impact of the spot given it will air in an isolated pod between 'The Voice' and 'This is Us'."
The full length ad will also air in movie theaters, while 30 and 60 second versions will follow on TV from December 10-24.