Toshiba Gets Sophomoric in Ads Aimed at College Crowd

Pranks, bodily fluids and unrequited bromance

Toshiba targets the college-guy demo with sophomoric humor in a trio of Canadian spots from Capital C. All of the action takes place in dorm rooms, and the ads seek to show how the client's computers can improve the school experience.

"Chicken Prank" focuses on a dude who can't peck away with his fingers on a keyboard or touchscreen because he's been wrapped in plastic and tied to his bed. Oh, and the room's filled with clucking chickens, naturally. He wiggles his toe to operate an All-in-One desktop with gesture control. Presumably, he summons assistance. (Dude, why not just scream "help!" at the top of your lungs? Maybe someone's in the room next door. Clearly no Ivy Leaguer.)

"Black Light" touts the ability of Satellite P-series laptops to power and charge USB devices even when the laptop is closed. Two roommates just moving in are horrified when a USB-powered black-light wand reveals unsavory streaks, smears and smudges soiling just about every inch of their walls and ceilings. (I guess the pervious occupants hosted some all-night, um, study sessions.)

The third spot, "Math Notes," showcases the Excite Write tablet's ability to convert handwritten notes and sketches into sharable files. A guy asks his roommate for calculus notes, and looks extremely dismayed, almost repulsed, when he instead receives a drawing of himself reimagined by his roommate as a hunky centaur. 

All three spots are cheeky, just a tad naughty and probably in tune with the teen and young-adult audience. I wonder, though, if some viewers won't find "Math Notes" borderline homophobic, since the punch line falls back on what Glaad has dubbed the "homo-queasy" ad cliché of showing a guy looking disgusted that another man might be attracted to him. "Toshiba would never intentionally set out to offend our customers," Sherry Lyons, vp of corporate and marketing communications at Toshiba of Canada, tells AdFreak. "We do not feel that the 'Math Notes' video is offensive or cliché."