Toyota is out with one of its two Super Bowl ads, and it's going hard for the inspirational route.
As promised, actress and Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy stars in "How Great I Am," a minute-long spot set to Muhammad Ali's classic speech before his 1974 title fight against George Foreman. The ad was originally scheduled to air pre-game, but Toyota said Friday that it's been moved to a slot in the first quarter.
The commercial shows quick cuts of Purdy, also a Dancing with the Stars contestant, training on the slopes, performing in a ballroom and posing for a photo shoot, using special prosthetic legs for each task. When she falls, she gets up again, and back to work. Naturally, she drives a Toyota.
"To say I'm honored to be in this spot airing during the game would be an understatement," Purdy said in a statement. "All my life I've been faced with choices, and I've been determined to be bold through every one of them. I have a great relationship with Toyota, and to be in an ad that encourages others to persevere and be bold in their own lives is something that is hard to accurately put into words."
The automaker joins what appears to be a growing number of marketers featuring handicapped athletes in ads. Earlier this month, Gatorade released an commercial in which it treated sled hockey players to a game with NFL pros. Guinness's tribute to friendship, by way of wheelchair basketball, earned a place as one of Adweek's 10 best ads of 2013.
Purdy's story is moving, and certainly worth showcasing. The soundtrack, a tour de force in its own right, makes for a great counterpoint. What it has to do with Toyota isn't entirely clear. But it's safe to say the brand's execs want you to think it's great, too.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles