Young Back for Toyota Dealers

What’s an out-of-work athlete to do these days? If you’re Steve Young, you keep making commercials.

Young, the former star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, is again following in the footsteps of Joe Montana, his predecessor on the gridiron and a frequent pitchman himself. Naturally, Young is particularly visible in the Bay Area, where he is now reprising his annual role as pitchman for the Northern California Toyota dealers.

Young stars in three new Toyota spots, each with a domestic theme. The ads broke last week and will air through the spring on network and cable. Spending on the campaign was not disclosed.

“Steve Young was the perfect choice,” said Sharon Krinsky, creative director at Hoffman/Lewis, which developed the campaign. “Steve and Toyota share the same brand equities. They are both reliable, solid citizens.”

One spot, titled “Dog Days,” shows Young going camping with his friend Geoff and several dogs. As Young brags about how much space his Toyota truck has, Geoff is shown in the back seat—being licked by the hounds. As the ad closes, Geoff jokes that he “called shotgun.”

Another spot plays on Young’s football career. In it, he returns home after a game of hoops with his nephew in Toyota’s 4-wheel drive SUV. When the nephew prepares to ask Young “a question everyone probably asks you,” Young begins to shout them out, including, “What was it like to be MVP?” The kid, though, just wanted to ask if they could go off-road.

The final spot is set in a car wash, where an older woman takes a liking to Young when she learns he is “retired.”

The client could not be reached for comment about the spots.

Hoffman/Lewis claims roughly $85 million in total billings, and has worked with the Toyota dealers since 1989. Young has been a pitchman for the business since 1995.

The agency also works with Bank of the West, Rodney Strong Vineyards and McDonald’s.