E Pluribus Prius: The Inscrutible Toyota People Person

Is Toyota’s “Prius People-Person” commercial one of the creepiest TV ads ever? Hmm… let me think…NO!

But for sure, it makes you say “WOW” when you watch it!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it for the first time; I needed to see it again and again to understand what is going on the screen. The group of people (to be more specific 18 people – yes, I have counted them) linked together create a “People-person” going through a morning routine: wakes-up, draws the curtains, stretches, brushes his teeth and gets ready to work. After a spot of breakfast and a glance at the morning paper, he steps outside and sees four Prius cars parked in the driveway. As he steps out the People-person begins to pull apart and 18 people follow to their cars.

“There’s the original one, the bigger one, the smaller one, and the one that plugs in. They’re all a little different. Just like us.” – the voiceover says. The idea behind the ad is somewhat clear: Toyota Prius has something for everyone.

The People-person campaign was developed at Saatchi & Saatchi LA Los Angeles and filmed by director Mr. Hide via The Sweet Shop. Same crew was responsible for the Toyota Prius Harmony Ad, where hundreds of people were again linked together to create a unity of the nature that surrounds us. Thumbs up for the creativity Mr. Hide!

Let’s take a close look on the concept of the People-person commercial; it gets our attention, that’s for sure. It creates the buzz – certainly – proof – this blog post and tons of positive and negative comments under the video on the Internet. It makes us focused on the product being promoted – not all the advertisers know how to do that. The concept is really original and yet innovative. And the message about the Prius is solidly delivered too.

“The outlandish fairy-tale conceit, while odd, is certainly eye-catching and very different for the category, even if the internal logic of the make-believe world feels a little fuzzy. From one person to many, from one Prius to many,” is how Saatchi executive creative director Margaret Keene explains the metaphor.” (via http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-toyota-134854)

See the team from Saatchi give a behind the scenes view of making this ad.


Karolina Synal is a guest blogger and student in Northeastern University’s graduate program in digital media. You can find her on Twitter at @DigitalKaro

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