The video (below) showed a teenager picking up his girlfriend from her father's house. On the doorstep, the boy and the father engage in a series of hoary double entendres about the car, such as, "a couple of nice big air bags to throw my head into" and "traction control for when it gets a bit slippery". The father comments, "She can take a good pounding in any direction."
Consumers reacted badly to the video. One commented on Facebook:
"The idea is very offensive and incredibly degrading to women. I am by no means a crazy feminist, I'm just very surprised that a clever ideas agency and a reputable car company would choose the smuttiest entry as the winner. Would Toyota really want to be affiliated with this?"The video is the third recent gaffe the car company and its agency have committed. In November Saatchi was caught taking images from Flickr for use on a Toyota web site without permission from the photographers. And in October Saatchi was sued by a woman who claimed she was terrorized by a soccer hooligan -- it turned out she was being "punked" in a campaign for the Toyota Matrix.
mUmBrella has a detailed account of how the campaign went wrong. Here's the text of the email Saatchi sent to production shop:
From: Rob Subject: Clever Comp Hey creative people I've got something that you'll (or your housemates, brothers, sisters, artistic friends etc will) be interested in. It's a film comp in aide of promoting Toyota Yaris. "A film comp? I don't have the time!" you may say, but listen up. So far, NO ONE has entered and it has been open for more than 10 days and closes 1st December. Voting is done on hits and comments so if you're in first you have a huge advantage. And you don't have to make an ad, just put a Yaris in somewhere a la the 'number 8â€² or 'spring' in Tropfest or something First prize is $7,000. $3,000 for second and $1,000 for 3rd. At this stage, you could enter a picture of your cat playing in his kitty litter and win 7 grand. Details are in the attachments. If you win, I'd love an all carbon fibre road bicycle for Christmas. Cheers y'all. -Rob