Lots of auto reporters were scratching their heads this week at the news that Toyota will be featuring a computer-generated anime character in some ads aimed at Asian Americans. But Hatsune Miku, the blue-haired Japanese singing sensation, is really just one of many strange creations that marketers have wrangled up to pitch their cars this year. The first Miku spot is below. After the jump, we recap some of the other inhuman spokescreatures that automakers have put behind the wheel lately.
Honda's Furry Monster
If you're looking to cut through the clutter of a Glee commercial break, all you have to do is show a furry, feminine beast frolicking with friends in her new Civic. As we recently reported, viewers flipped out on Twitter, possibly because they didn't know that the femme-Furby is part of a larger campaign featuring other bizarre characters, such as an affable zombie and a romantic woodsman. Viewers Confused, Scared by Honda Civic's Furry Monster
Ford's Spokespuppet, Doug
Voiced by comedian Paul F. Tompkins, Doug is a snarky, occasionally skeevy orange sock puppet who has been tasked with introducing America to the new Ford Focus. While Doug's debut on YouTube generated a fair amount of buzz (and skepticism), his videos since haven't quite managed to get into gear. Lecherous Non-Human Pitching Ford Focus
Hyundai's Driving Sheep
As part of its Super Bowl blitz, Hyundai featured some "viral footage" of sheep driving compact cars. The spot and its associated YouTube clips drove viewers to CompactConspiracy.com, which seemed to be a dead link when I tried it again recently. Given how few people have watched the "viral" spots online, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the first to notice that the link doesn't actually go anywhere. Kinda like the ads. Hyundai Feeling Sheepish About Super Bowl
Toyota's James Lipton
Not sure if he's animatronic or completely CGI, but this "James Lipton" is like some kind of ingratiating, bearded beast from the shadowed crags of the Uncanny Valley. Truly an otherworldly being. James Lipton Helping Toyota Pluralize Prius
Bonus creatures: Kia Toys
More than a year after these hard-drivin' toys hit the Super Bowl, I still love watching them dance and strut. As one YouTube commenter put it so perfectly: "Makes me want to go on a road trip with a sock monkey and one-eyed pickle monster."
Another bonus: Seat Monster
Spanish automaker Seat created perhaps the best monster of all in this spot from Atletico International in Barcelona. A kooky, almost magical spot—a tad long, perhaps, and hokey, but riveting and heartfelt. The Perfect Car for Enormous Love Monsters