By Tiffany Davis
Before I tear this 2013 Toyota Prius commercial with Raphael Saadiq apart, let me say that I’m a huge fan of Saadiq’s. I’ve been a fan of his since Tony! Toni! Tone! and they were singing about how it never rains in Southern California.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me say that I really wanted to like this commercial. I mean really wanted to like it. It had a great beat, Raphael Saadiq, a woman with natural hair —-what could be better?
But then I gave it a second look. That’s when I noticed the comparison between the Prius and a woman – “There’s so much more. I just can’t wait to explore. You’re all I need, what you doing to me.”
Ahhhh, sexual innuendo sells cars. I get it now.
Is Toyota the first company to use women, sexuality, and/or sexual innuendo to sell cars or other consumer goods products? Definitely not.
Let Toyota tell it, the 2013 Toyota Prius is stylish. I won’t debate that because I’m not into car design. I will ask this. What part of this commercial suggests style (aside from Mr. Saadiq himself)?
Showing black women dancing was just lazy. Push the envelope, Toyota. Give me more. If you’re trying to attract the African American demographic, come harder. This 2009 Toyota campaign targeting black women was great! What happened?
On a side note, research conducted by R. L. Polk shows that Toyota (15.0%) is the most popular car company among African Americans, followed by Ford (11.7%), Chevrolet, Honda, and Nissan (see table below).
That, coupled with data showing that black women “account for 58 percent of all new cars and trucks purchased by African Americans, compared to 44 percent of women in the general population”, make it clear why Toyota would produce this commercial (Source: MadameNoire).
Speaking as one black woman, though, I say: do better.
Raphael Saadiq sings: “I lay my eyes on the prize. Something’s happening inside. Prius, you doing it to me. Girl, what you doing to me? You’ve been bold since birth, been a blessing to this earth. There’s so much more. I just can’t wait to explore. You’re all I need, what you doing to me”.
Announcer: “The Toyota Prius. Those who get it, get it.”
Director: Bob Giraldi
Choreographer: Galen Hooks