Toyota Highlander Takes Muppets To Super Bowl

Toyota is taking its "Let’s Go Places" theme into the Super Bowl with an ad featuring Terry Crews — a former NFL linebacker, formerly an Old Spice guy, and current star of Fox's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." It also stars the Muppets. 

The ad, which runs in the second quarter of the game, evinces a cross-promotional deal with Disney. The 60-second TV ad does double duty by touting the carpeted characters' new Disney movie “Muppets Most Wanted,” which premieres in March. 

Toyota says the new ad (there's only a teaser right now) has an “unborifying” theme, with the Muppets borrowing Crews' Highlander for "humorous hijinks, dancing and surprises -- and no Muppet caper would be complete without an original song. " The ad also spotlights the crossover's three-row, eight-butts configuration.

The campaign, via Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Conill and 360i, also involves a social media element, with the Muppets will doing real-time updates as they travel to the game in Meadowlands in their Toyota Highlander on Feb. 2. The platform for that will be a live chat on game day at @Toyota or using #NoRoomForBoring. 

And per Toyota, the effort will continue post-Bowl with new ads focused on vehicle features and functionality. Those ads will star characters from the upcoming Disney movie, which has an international crime-caper conceit. It stars Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey.

Torrance, Calif.-based Toyota Motor Sales said it sold more than 12,300 Highlanders in December, capping a solid year with sales up 5.4% and without devoting a lot of dollars to advertising for the vehicle -- despite a recall of a quarter-million hybrid versions of the crossover in the U.S. Although the vehicles in question were 2009 model-year cars, and despite customers' appreciation of an expediently performed recall before anything bad happens, it's never a boost to sales.

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