Toyota Conill Advertising

Taking an unusual approach for a Super Bowl commercial, Toyota Motor Sales and Conill Advertising tout the hybrid features of the 2007 Toyota Camry, which uses gas and electricity as fuel, by comparing it to bilingual Hispanics living in the U.S.

“It was the perfect way to talk about technology in a way people could understand, as well as leverage the importance of Hispanic consumers,” says Kim McCullough, corporate manager, marketing communications for Toyota.

In the ad, a Hispanic father driving a Camry explains to his son in the backseat how the hybrid works. Though speaking primarily in English, he points to the gas gauge and says, “Mira, aqui,” Spanish for “look here.” The son compares the engine with his father, “Like you, with English and Spanish!” The father explains the reason he bought the car and learned English was, “I’m always thinking of your future.”

Writing dialogue that conveyed how the car works in a simple way was the hardest part of the Los Angeles shop’s first Super Bowl ad, says creative director and copywriter Pablo Buffagni. Finding a director fluent in Spanish and familiar with Anglo cultures (Francisco Pugliese of D’Avant-Garde Media) was also crucial. “A big part of the team lives in this country, but we were not born here, and we know what it is like to live in both cultures,” says the Argentina-born Buffagni.

The shoot was in December near Lake Casitas in Ojai, Calif. It was shot in 35 mm and transferred to high-definition film.

McCullough says the spot works for two reasons: It embodies Toyota’s “Moving forward” theme and demonstrates the respect the company has for the Hispanic market.