Ads Watch: Toyota Camry – Kelly Clarkson

30 Jan

As Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger races to the top of the charts, the song is prominently featured in a Toyota commercial in which Clarkson and three other luminaries in different fields enter a Toyota Camry located in a warehouse of some sort.  Clarkson, in the driver’s seat, hits a button on the dashboard screen and Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) starts playing, and the passengers and Clarkson all begin dancing to the song.

This commercial is remarkable for one reason and one reason only.  There is absolutely no common thread I can find between the four people who sit in the car, singing along, in this ad.*  I have no idea whether there’s one demographic which all four are supposed to cater to, or whether the makers of the car have figured that through these four people the can get at, by one way or another, every potential demographic.

*Well, I’ve solved at least part of the explanation by actually watching the full minute long commercial.  What airs most often is an abbreviated version of the commercial in which the four people simply get into the car and start dancing..  In the full commercial, each member of “The Crew,” as the commercial is titled gets a full screen featuring him or her and what he or she represents.  Still, I think these particular choices are interesting/strange enough to warrant discussion.

Let’s break down the four passengers of the car.

Chris Berman – ESPN personality, SportsCenter host, known for his inane nicknames and his constant bossing around of Tom Jackson

Seat location:  Front passenger seat

Commercial description:  “Get Sports Scores”

Identifiabily rating:  High – if ESPN, as a network, over the course of its over 30 years has a face, it’s Chris Berman.  While others have come and go, Chris Berman still has his face all over the network, and all over Monday Night Football, one of the most popular sports programs there is.

Dancing enthusiasm rank:  3 – Moves his hands up and down a couple of times, turns his head side to side, at one point appears to look behind him to see how much the guys in the back are dancing

James Lipton – Host of Inside the Actor’s Studio on Bravo, where he interviews celebrities

Seat location: Rear driver’s side

Commercial description: “Buy Movie Tickets”

Identifiabily rating:  Medium – Lipton was at his most famous 10 years ago when Will Ferrell was doing a recurring bit on Saturday Night Live as Lipton.  Now, many people still probably recognize him, but his moment has passed

Dancing enthusiasm rank:  4 – He slowly moves his head back and forth about every five seconds, approximately two and a half times in the initial dancing scene, though I can’t blame him because as I just learned (which blew my mind), that Lipton is 85.  I still don’t believe that.

Andrew Zimmern – Host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

Seat location: Rear passenger’s side

Commercial description: “Make Restaurant Reservations”

Identifiabily rating: Low – he hosts Bizarre Foods on Travel Channel.  It’s certainly a reasonably popular Travel Channel program, but that’s all it is, a reasonably popular Travel Channel program.  Anyone serious about watching a lot of food TV probably recognizes him, but otherwise, unlikely.  On Travel Channel Q ratings even, he probably ranks somewhere after Anthony Bourdain and the guy who unhealthily stuffs himself from Man vs. Food (Adam Richman).

Dancing enthusiasm rank: 2 – Even though unlike Berman, he displays no hand movements whatsoever, he’s all in with his head, bopping around and appearing far more generally enthusiastic than the other guys.

Kelly Clarkson – Singer, first American Idol winner who has charted ten top 10 hits

Seat location: Driver

Commercial description: “Stream Music”

Identifiabily rating: High – Clarkson and Berman vie with each other for the spot of most famous person on this list, depending on gender and age demographics.  Clarkson has managed to avoid fading away, coming up with a hit or two off every album, and currently has the #2 song in the country with the song from this commercial.

Dancing enthusiasm rank: 1 – unsurprising, as she is the musician in the group and it is her song they’re all lip-syncing to.  She moves her whole body back and forth, moves her arms around, and even manages to use her hands while driving.

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3 Responses to “Ads Watch: Toyota Camry – Kelly Clarkson”

  1. Beardface February 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m not a huge fan of Boomer, but I don’t want to live in a world where Kelly Clarkson is as well known as he is.

  2. Lee February 8, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    James Lipton? Its not Warden Gentles? Thats right, an Arrested Development reference. I think that knocks him up a point or two on the fame meter. At the very least gave a shot in the arm to his relevance.

  3. ArbeeEye February 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    No mention of Kelly’s arm flab? Disappointing.

    And they are not lip-syncing…if you listen closely, you can make out their off-key voices.

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