On Friday, Ad Age reported that Toyota would be editing its commercial in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s untimely death.
In a statement to Ad Age, the car company said, “Out of sensitivity to recent news events we made the decision to adjust our creative.” They added that the campaign would feature the Highlander SUV.
On Saturday morning, Toyota’s official Youtube page released the 2020 Toyota Highlander Super Bowl commercial above, with Cobie Smulders at the center of the spot.
Cobie Smulders Stars in the Ad
In their new ad, Cobie Smulders deals with a series of different crises. She packs everyone in distress into her Toyota Highlander– even her son, who’s left without a ride at the movies.
In the words of AdWeek, “The ad is satisfying on several levels, especially the witty quips that, if you don’t pay attention, might fly by. And unlike some Super Bowl ads that go for the more over-the-top approach, Toyota knows its brand well, and its self-awareness plays to its advantage.”
In a statement, Ed Laukes, the group vice president of marketing for Toyota Motor North America shared, “The Monday Morning Quarterbacks ask if we were successful if we’re not in the top spot on the USA Today Ad Meter… We love being the top 10, or top three among auto brands, but that’s never the intent. We want to showcase something about our brand that we want to talk about.”
Speaking to Variety, Smulders admits that Super Bowl commercials are a coveted gig for actors. The Canadian actress tells the outlet, “I feel like this is a moment, one of those boxes you tick off.”
In total, the gig took three days to shoot.
A Numer of Ads Were Edited in the Wake of Bryant’s Death
Toyota is just one of several ads that were amended in the wake of Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter last Sunday.
Hyundai’s Genesis commercial, for example, was changed– they removed a helicopter from their spot. (The ad showed images of a helicopter meant to depict “old luxury.”)
Hard Rock also removed a scene of Lakers’ player Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, according to Ad Age.
And five days ago, Planters’ revealed that it would be pausing all campaign activities, as its commercial involved the death of its brand spokesperson, Mr. Peanut. In the ad, Mr. Peanut was thrown out of the Nutmobile only to let go of a branch that left him “plummeting to the ground,” according to Ad Age.
In an official statement, Planters said, “We wanted you to know that we are saddened by this weekend’s news and Planters has paused all campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy.”
At this point, it’s unclear what Planters will air during their Super Bowl ad spot. As Ad Age reports, the in-game commercial has not yet been released.
Kick-off for the Big Game is slated to begin at 3:30pm PT, 6:30pm ET.