How Does User-Generated Backlash Effect Sales? Was Toyota Saved by Zero?

If you’re reading this post (and you live in the USA) around the time I writing it, there is no need to show you Toyota’s Saved By Zero commercial. It has been played to death on the airwaves. What makes it unique is some magical mojo of that claws at the nerves. (If you want to watch it for a little refresher, I’ve included it at the very end of this post.)

For some reason, this spot has garnered a very special ire. It’s probably got a lot to do with the economic panic that we’re under combined with the cloyingly upbeat rendition of Saved By Zero by The Fixx. I’ve had conversations with friends about this spot and how obnoxious the idea of 0% financing is to them at a time when Great Depression tinted news is the story of the day every day.

There’s a particularly well-done mocking of this spot below, mashing it up with The Ring. It’s an excellent example how consumer backlash can become an art form.

I can watch this mocking of Toyota’s spot was great fun, but I wonder how it really effects the sales of Toyota vehicles? Does it make me think they’re any less sturdy? Does it drive me into the arms of GM or Ford? Although I don’t own a car or plan to buy one, the answer for me is no.

All auto makers are hurting. Every one of them is down in sales. Take a look at the latest Edmund’s report on November call sale in this write from the Wall Street Journal. Here are the numbers they mention:

  • Chrysler - down 42%
  • Ford Motor - down 33%
  • Nissan - down 29%
  • General Motors Corp. - down 28%
  • Toyota Motor Corp. - down 24%
  • Honda Motor Co. - down 21%


Yes, all are down badly. Toyota, with what I’m guessing is the most hated car ad on TV right now, is doing pretty good, relatively speaking. Maybe they were saved by zero after all.

What should Toyota do with all the free media they’re getting right now regarding the emotions garnered by this spot? Maybe they could embrace it. Should they encourage people to mix this up some more. Let people have fun with it. Everyone needs a little escapism now and they’ve accidentally got a head start in letting people have it.

At the beginning I promised you the spot that started it all. Be sure to have bandages handy in case you start bleeding from your eyes and ears.

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