Tacoma Passengers in Toyota's Super Bowl Ad Hold On for Dear Life

The automaker will debut a new spot from Saatchi & Saatchi, after sitting out Super Bowl 57

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A celebrity doesn’t star in Toyota‘s 2024 Super Bowl spot. It doesn’t spotlight the 2024 Tacoma’s new features, either. The ad is all about the truck’s grab handle.

Truck passengers hold onto the handle for dear life during the truck’s off-road adventures. They scream, swear and clutch the handle while along for a ride.

Toyota hadn’t planned to air an ad during Super Bowl 58, but its marketing leaders changed their minds when partner CBS Sports reached out only a few weeks ago with available inventory. Serendipitously, two spots Toyota planned to roll out during its new 2024 Tacoma launch campaign were available. One is a 30-second spot called “Dareful Handle” that’s set to air on CBS during the game. The other is 30-second ad “Undisclosed,” airing exclusively on Univision during the fourth quarter.

“In order to tell our story in this day and age, you have to be able to react to what’s happening in the market. If an opportunity presents itself, you take it, which is what we did,” said Michael Tripp, Toyota North America’s marketing vice president.

Toyota joins three other car brands in the game. Kia will tout its EV9; Christopher Walken stars in a BMW ad for the BMW i5; and Volkswagen will celebrate 75 years in America. American car brands that have been recent mainstays in the Super Bowl are sitting out the 2024 game.

In October, the National Football League made Toyota its Official Automotive Partner. The automaker also recently announced new national partnerships with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning and current San Francisco 49ers star QB Brock Purdy. Toyota already planned to launch the Tacoma campaign this week, so when it committed to CBS, it opted to hold back two ads to air during the game.

“You’ll have people that love it, and the critics out there. It takes the simple truth of Tacoma in an exciting and inspiring way and tells a story about the truck and the Toyota brand on the largest platform of the year,” Tripp said.

Toyota agency of record Saatchi & Saatchi worked on the creative. Its most recent Super Bowl work for Toyota was its 2022 Super Bowl spots, “The Joneses” and “Brothers.” Toyota’s Hispanic agency of record, Conill, created “Undisclosed.”

“To launch this incredible new vehicle through this plastic handle … [it] says everything that we wanted to say,” said Jason Schragger, Saatchi & Saatchi’s chief creative officer. The handle idea was one of the first concepts the agency imagined, and Saatchi shared it with Toyota just one week after receiving the project brief.

A truck for the adventurous

Toyota wants the 2024 Tacoma to reach approximately 20 million spontaneous, fun-loving adventure junkies in the U.S. It decided that focusing on the Tacoma’s grab handle in “Dareful Handle” was a tongue-in-cheek way to capture a target buyer’s attention.

“We know that that audience appreciates what that handle is for,” said Tripp.

In “Undisclosed,” Tacoma drivers go glamping, off-roading and scale rocky hillsides. But they keep their adventures quiet to avoid worrying family members. “Don’t tell mom,” one character in the spot tells a sibling, as the two use their Tacoma to pull a side-by-side out of the mud.

With the Univision buy, Toyota hopes to connect with its Latino audiences and increase its market share with Hispanic audiences from 27% to 30% of its segment.

“We’re proud of the fact that in the auto industry, we have the highest multicultural share of any brand,” Tripp said.

Toyota also partnered with the NFL to create its football theme park, a Las Vegas activation open through Saturday, Feb. 10. Game experience “Toyota’s 4 Down Territory” will see fans navigate through 58,000 footballs at the event for a chance to attend next year’s Super Bowl for free.

For the latest Super Bowl 58 advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2024 Ad Tracker and the rest of our stories here. And join us on the evening of Feb. 11 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials.

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