Prius Ads Essay

2319 words - 9 pages

When a manufacturer produces an item they wish to sell, they are frequently attempting to appeal to more than one type of buyer. This is especially the case when dealing with a high cost item such as a car. In addition to being a significant expenditure, for many people in our society what vehicle they drive is a reflection of their personality and how they wish to be viewed by others. I would like to look at two different ads for the Toyota Prius. Because these are commercials made for television, they have a wider selection of means to target an audience than is available in a print ad. Primarily, of course, are the images we see on the screen. Second, we are impacted by the words spoken by the narrator. Lastly is the music chosen for the background, which can have more influence than we may realize. Those elements must all work together and in a very short amount of time to produce the response of dissatisfaction with one’s current circumstances and a desire for the car as the solution to that dissatisfaction. Both ads are 30 seconds long and, unlike a print ad, when viewed in the intended medium of television there is no stopping to take a closer look at something that catches the eye.
The Toyota Prius “Harmony” ad is the older of the two, first released around May 2009. The initial impression from this ad is that it is targeted at an older group, mainly the baby boomers. The ad has a very “hippie” atmosphere to it. The commercial opens with the car journeying out of the city and into the country, getting back to nature. The surroundings start out virtually colorless, the landscape is white or gray as if buried in snow. As the Prius travels through the countryside, its headlights are equated with the sunrise and illumination of the environment around it. Surrounding the car are clouds, grass, trees, flowers, and water; they all appear to be dancing. Upon closer inspection it can be seen that all of those components of nature are being acted out by innumerable people gathered together. The images comprising of massive quantities of people give an implied message that “everyone else is doing it.” It is at this point the ad begins to make its connection with a second group of buyers, those who are environmentally conscientious. Much of this will overlap with the baby boomer group, as the environmental movement coincides with that generation, but it also will appeal to fledgling buyers for the implied environmental benefits. In order to sell a product the manufacturer must make the viewer feel as though they absolutely need (not just want) the advertised product. One of the current public and political hot buttons is the ecosystem, and this as pushes that button as hard as it can. The car is portrayed as the solution to all our environmental woes, even chasing away the snow and allowing the flowers to bloom. These are, naturally, flower children.
The interesting thing about the images in the “Harmony’ ad is there is...

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