Toyota’s Holiday Message Highlights Giving Through a Tender Community Tale

By Kyle O'Brien 

The first Toyota ad of the holiday season is less about the brand’s autos and more a tale of a community coming together to resurrect a beloved store.

“Bookstore” shares a touching story of a young girl who gets inspired to collect gently used books from her community to restock her favorite local bookstore after it was devastated by a fire. The action follows the girl as she rallies the town to donate books and replenish the inventory. The girl’s warmth and determination inspires people to join together to repair the shop owner’s storefront as well.


The book donations are delivered to the store owner with help from a Toyota Tundra and Highlander, but the creators of the ad, agency Saatchi & Saatchi, admit that it is more about the spirit of giving.

“That was a decision we made as a team. The Toyota vehicles are important in the sense that they help to motivate the story, but the focus is really on the story. Both the vehicles and the story need to balance one another. Each is in service of each other,” Sandra Luciano, group creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, told Adweek.

Fellow group creative director Leo Circo added that they were inspired to write this tale because one of their team members made a summer trip to Montana and saw a small-town bookstore that was struggling to keep its doors open.

“We used that to create this story of a little girl who, with the help of her mom and dad, inspires a community to come together in an act of gratitude and kindness. And how this small gesture, motivated by the spirit of giving, can help us do great things,” said Circo.

The team, which includes director Ted Melfi, wants people to think of Toyota as a brand that honors people who come together to share kindness.

“This year the holidays remind us of the importance of being with loved ones and helping give back to the community,” Lisa Materazzo, group vice president, Toyota marketing, Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to sharing an uplifting message of coming together to celebrate the true meaning of the season.”

That messaging extends to action by the automaker, as Toyota works with longtime partner the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), a national nonprofit that works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. The carmaker will help provide more than 85,000 books for families nationwide through its 420 literacy centers across the country.

A second holiday spot by Toyota will debut later this month with a CGI ad titled “Nora’s Joy,” produced in both English and Spanish and developed by Conill Advertising.