Firsts: Lin Stumps For Volvo, Toyota Partners With HSN


The Houston Rockets star Jeremy Lin may be off the NBA court with an injury, but he's rolling with new advertising for Volvo.

The Rockleigh, N.J.-based Volvo Cars of North America, which this past spring signed a two-year endorsement deal with former N.Y. Knicks wunderkind Lin, is launching what it says is the first element of that relationship: A national 30-second TV ad paralleling the values that drove Lin from anonymity to stardom with Volvo's own journey.

The company says the commercial, called "The Unexpected Ones" is airing nationally on channels like ESPN and ESPN2. The ad will air on "SportsCenter," and "Dancing with the Stars" in prime time, as well as on "First Take," "College Football," "20/20," "Criminal Minds," "The Mentalist" and "Law & Order SVU."



The spot shows Lin taking a right when everyone else takes a left, intended as a metaphor for his own circuitous route to the NBA. In the ad, he leaves a celebrity event in a red Volvo XC60, standing out in a line of black limos. He first puts on the left turn indicator, then unexpectedly activates the right turn indicator instead and drives away from the crowd.

"No one expected me to be here," he says in V.O. "No one expected me to be a starter, to hit game-winning shots. Or even play in this league. Well, I'm not here to live up to anyone else's expectations. I'm here to live up to mine."

In another first, and one that might beg the question, "What's a car like you doing in a place like this?" Toyota ran a program on Sunday with HSN (the Home Shopping Network). Toyota, the first automaker on HSN in over three decades, is using the channel to promote its hybrid cars, including the new Avalon Hybrid full-sized sedan.

The automaker's program on HSN centered on a "Discover Toyota" showcase wherein auto analysts and writers Micah Muzio of and Tara Weingarten of joined HSN hosts Marlo Smith and Brett Chukerman to do a deep dive on Toyota's hybrid vehicles. In addition to Avalon, the show looked at the Prius lineup, Camry Hybrid, and Highlander Hybrid.

The program came with an offer: A $1,000 gas card or "HSN Kash" if viewers purchase a Toyota hybrid over the next three months. To redeem it, consumers have to call HSN or visit a Toyota/HSN custom Web site that will stay live until Nov. 5, per the companies.

The site has video content, a quiz and a Toyota-themed game where people can win points for playing toward prizes, and where players can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win the Avalon Hybrid.

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