In the latest example of an auto brand tapping the deep veins of nostalgia to peddle their wares, a most unlikely marque is going to that well beginning today: Toyota and its new Prius c hybrid.
Riffing on Hasbro's The Game of Life classic board game, the brand's "The Game of Life with Prius c" campaign demonstrates key vehicle attributes in what Toyota calls a "fun and approachable way" that aims to appeal to first-time car buyers with a more reasonably priced and smaller version of Prius, whose price premiums — compared with a similarly equipped and -sized conventional vehicle — have certainly deterred many a buyer.
Toyota is in step with automaker's nostalgic campaigns, with its Super Bowl TV commercial for Camry evoking how much the best-selling car in America has meant to Americans over the decades. Chevy's recent commercial showed an actual family retrieving the Chevrolet that their father had to give up in his youth, while Subaru's new campaign for its Impreza model encourages consumers to recall the story of their own "first car."
The new ads for Prius are a bit different if only because there's not much of a "past" to dwell on. Prius c (which Toyota unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January) is a brand-new variant of the Prius brand, which in itself has only been around for about a decade.
Toyota's campaign features a board game that many boomers and even Gen Y-ers grew up with — but is Toyota rolling the dice that Millennials will understand the reference to the Game of Life?
"The Prius c campaign acknowledges the fact that buying a car is a big decision, as well as a new experience for many in this demographic," said Bill Fay, Toyota group vice president of marketing, in a press release. "We wanted to give our customers something entertaining and engaging, yet familiar, they could identify with while introducing a vehicle to help them navigate this exciting new chapter in their lives."
The new Prius c campaign's TV ads combine minimalistic sets and people dressed in the bright primary colors of the Game of Life game, and of course the iconic game spinner, with modern themes. So, in one spot, a twenty-something woman spins, lands, and then frets, "Aw, [the game says] my maltipoo is depressed — but my affordable Prius c means I can pay for his acupuncture!"
The ad closes with: "Be a winner with the all-new Prius c — from Toyota!"
The automaker, naturally, is harnessing digital elements for its Game of Life/Prius c campaign via Pandora, Facebook, and YouTube, which has added a virtual board game to its landing page.