Toyota’s Cars Are So Safe Today, Its Crash Test Dummies Are Looking for Other Work

Meet Stan, mired in an existential crisis

It’s the plight of the crash test dummy. As automatic safety features on cars improve, life-sized plastic dolls are becoming obsolete, and they’re not happy about it.

So goes the silly but illustrative concept behind a new campaign from Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles. A third ad launching today joins two from April in examining the changing lives of inanimate objects.

The latest spot, shot in the pseudo-documentary interview style of reality television, focuses on Stan, a dummy who’s trying to find a new purpose, now that Toyota’s suite of preventative tech has rendered his old job irrelevant.

He tries to find thrills in all kinds of ways—skydiving, as a CPR dummy, strapping himself to a football blocking sled. Nothing quite compares, though, to barreling into a concrete wall at 35 miles an hour.

The 90-second ad goes a little deeper into the metaphor than the earlier, shorter commercials, which demonstrated the safety selling points through set pieces focused more on actual humans (a pair of scientists testing the features; a couple riding in a car). Those also teased the crash test dummy concept (a break room full of the dolls, dressed like set extras, gets awkward when they overhear a lab coat suggesting they might not be needed).

Toyota’s safety suite—branded “Toyota Safety Sense”—includes computerized tools like collision detection with automatic braking and lane drift detection with corrective steering, which come standard on a number of new 2017 models like the Prius and Corolla.

For someone relegated to the junk pile by those features, Stan is surprisingly willing to sell them. Then again, the whole point is that he’s upbeat about his own demise. And to be fair, he has landed on his feet, in another job benefiting disproportionately from the absence of soft organs—though thankfully, he won’t have to be upright for long.

Toyota Safety Sense & Prius Campaigns

Advertiser: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles
Chief Creative Officer: Jason Schragger
Executive Creative Director: Fabio Costa
Executive Creative Director (Digital): Chris Pierantozzi
Executive Director, Integrated Production: Lalita Koehler
Director of Content Production: Sara Seibert
Executive Producer: Richard Bendetti
Director of Project Management: Angela Montoya
Senior Project Manager: Jessica Mesa
Project Manager Brett LaPlante
Executive Director: Al Reid
Group Account Director: Courtney Husk
Account Director: Dianne Gee
Account Supervisor: Rachel Greenlee
Account Executive: Kaitlyn Roberts
Assistant Account Executive: Priscilla Mon
Chief Strategy Officer: Mark Turner
Managing Director, Strategy and Insights: Don Longfellow
Group Director, Connection & Insight Strategy: Paulo Carvajal
Group Director, Connection & Insight Strategy: Evan Ferrari
Director, Connection & Insight Strategy: Amaya D’Amico
Sr. Connection & Insight Strategist: Bryon Foote
Sr. Connection & Insight Strategist: Taylor McKee
Executive Communications Director: John Lisko
Communications Director: Breanne Carpenter
Director of Integrated Business Affairs: Keli Christy
Senior Integrated Business Affairs Manager: Kathi Bolliger
Product Information Director: Matt Hardesty

Broadcast & Digital Video
Creative Director: Renato Braga
ACD/Art Director: Robyn Stern
Senior Copywriter: Craig Lederman
Senior Integrated Producer: Holly Otto
Music Supervisor Kristen Hosack
Broadcast Traffic Director
Nadzyah Guillermo
Production Company: Furlined
Director: Speck/Gordon
Editing Company: No6 (Graham Turner & Isaac Chen)
Finishing Company: The Mill (Bill Higgins)
Mix Company: Lime Studios

Creative Director: Renato Braga
ACD/Art Director: Leo Borges
ACD/Copywriter: Dan Sorgen
Executive Art Producer: Cindy Rowe
Senior Print Producer: Rachel Dallas-Noble
Production Company: Carioca

ACD/Art Director: Jeremy Carson
ACD/Copywriter: Brian Frost
Digital Executive Producer: Tarrah Barbour
Integrated Producer: Ashley Harsen
Account Director: Hansoul Kim
Account Supervisor: Kara Hardy
Account Executive: Kiara Collazo
Production Company: Tool of NA (Brig White)
Editing Company: Compadres (Nate Cali)
Finishing Company: Arsenal / Compadres
Mix Company: Margarita Mix (Paul Hurtubise)

Digital Banners
ACD/Art Director: Jeremy Carson
ACD/Copywriter: Brian Frost
Director of Digital Production
Keith Bollinger
Executive Producer: Nick Ngai
Associate Digital Producer: Kat Olschnegger
3D Artists Dusty Leon & Alen Isagholi
3D Modeling John Kim
3D Producers Christian Wright & Carl Deo
3D Supervisor Javier Bellow
Production Companies: FancyPants & 14Four

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.