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Family Explores Nostalgia and Togetherness in Touching Toyota Christmas Ad

Toyota touts broadcast first with 100-second holiday spot from Saatchi & Saatchi LA and director Lance Acord

Family Explores Nostalgia and Togetherness in Touching Toyota Christmas Ad

Toyotathon is back for its 38th year with a 100-second holiday commercial that showcases a family’s multi-generational story. 'R+S' premiered Tuesday night, November 28th, on NBC during 'The Voice' in an isolated pod, with no other advertising or promotional spots surrounding it. This 100-second spot comes at a time when most networks are reducing commercial time.  

"The Winter holiday season seems to get longer every year with retail advertising starting earlier than the year before. Of course we have retail ads just like our competitors, but we believe it's also important to remind customers of the true meaning of the holiday season," noted Ed Laukes, group vice president, Toyota Marketing, Toyota Motor North America.  "Through proprietary research, we identified a way to break through the clutter with an emotional message and resonate with consumers. In addition, the 100-second spot was shot in a style similar to This is Us, and because the ad has context, we believe the relevance will increase the impact of the spot given it will air in an isolated pod between The Voice and This is Us."

“The natural connection with Toyota’s new creative and such a powerful night of family viewing illustrates the power of contextual messaging which still reigns king,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBC Universal. “Engaging, emotional creative combined with the unparalleled environment of television is the ultimate platform for a marketer to reach audiences at scale and enhance the consumer experience.”

'R+S' unfolds like a film as it tells a family’s multi-generational story using a much loved family tree as the centrepiece. The narrative starts with the grandparents as a young couple and the tree bares their initials, “R+S.” The story continues decades later after the tree has fallen from natural causes. During the holiday season the  grandparents visit their daughter’s home to find a framed picture of themselves as a young couple in front of their special tree. As the rest of the family hides in anticipation, they see the inscription of their initials “R+S” on the table and quickly realise its their beloved tree. 

The spot features a real family of actors including grandparents, their daughter and her husband and children. The director, award-winning cinematographer, Lance Acord, filmed in central California and cast a family from the same area. “The story comes to life because it represents real families. The central point of the narrative, the tree, is also a metaphor for life and the underlying theme of a matriarch passing on the torch from one generation to the next,” said director Lance Acord.  

Acord directed the spot in a way that makes the viewer re-experience the holidays from another family’s lens and carries that emotion with them to their own family festivities. Fostering the true meaning of the holidays, togetherness, Toyota tugs at the viewer's heartstrings by focusing on the family’s story to create a relatable, emotional experience during the hectic holiday season.

“R+S” premiered on NBC with the special 100-second airing before moving to top theatres nationwide for in-cinema play in National CineMedia (NCM)’s Noovie pre-show on over 20,600 movie screens from December 1st-28th. A mix of :30 and :60 versions of “R+S” will air on television December 10th-24th.

Creative Agency

Strategic Planner: Brittany Berman

Senior Copywriter: Craig Lederman

Project Manager: Katie Wood / Jon Cindric

Music Supervisor: Kristen Hosack

Management Supervisor: Lauren Messina

Head of Content Production: Sara Seibert

Group Account Director: Ginger Christensen

Executive Producer: Pamela Parsons

Executive Creative Director: John Payne

Director of Integrated Production: Lalita Koehler

Director of Business Affairs: Linda Daubson

Creatives: Scott Wracher, Cynthia Brown, Nick Miller, Eric Cavanagh

Creative Director: Leo Circo

Creative Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Copywriters: Richard Beahm

Content Producer: Antonietta Croft

Communications Director: John Lisko

Chief Strategy Officer: Mark Turner

Chief Creative Officer: Jason Schragger

Business Affairs Manager: Katie Banghart/Erin D'Angelo

Associate Creative Director: Chip McDonald

Art Director: Brian Morgan

Account Supervisor: Charles Paterson

Account Director: Nicole Timerson


Producer: Remy Foxx

Executive Producer: CL Weaver

Editor: Shane Reid

Edit Company: Exile Editorial

Edit Assistant: Cutler Gray

Post Production / VFX

Telecine: Ricky Gausis

Producer: Pravina Sippy

Finish: Matt Motal @ Arsenal Creative

Production Company

Production Company: Park Pictures

Line Producer: Caroline Kousidonis

Head of Production: Anne Bobroff

Executive Producer: Scott Howard/Jackie Kelman Bisbee

Director: Lance Acord

Category: Automotive , Cars

Genre: Storytelling