1970 KE10 chases Toyota GR Corolla in new ad that is cringe

In Toyota’s latest ad for the raucous GR Corolla, a cameo by a 1970 KE10 almost threatens to steal the show. Not only that, but there are several references to past Toyota commercials, some obscure enough that only Toyota nerds will catch them.

Called “The Shoot”, it stars the same four characters we’ve (sadly) come to know from past ads for the GR Supra and GR86. Two hip marketers that are ostensibly car enthusiasts are blocked at every turn by two unhip corporate types that don’t get cars at all. The same cast has appeared in “The Pitch” for the GR Supra and “Focus Group” for the GR86. Here, the cool ad-makers place the GR Corolla in a variety of settings — wild west, snow-covered rally stage, Warner Bros studio lot — to show off what the car can do, only to once again have the execs pooh-pooh their ideas.

Problem is, the marketers don’t speak car enthusiast at all. Do the real creators of this ad (not the actors playing them) think yelling things like “360 drift!” is how petrolheads talk? Is that what we want to know about the GR Corolla, arguably the purest non-truck Toyota performance model to debut in a human generation? Also, it seems as if they’re trying to wink-wink to the youths by saying Toyota is a company run by out-of-touch suits. Insert Thinking Face emoji. The whole enterprise strongly emits Steve Buscemi’s iconicHow do you do, fellow kids?” vibe.

Then one of the marketers introduces the concept of a “sleeper”, which turns out to be an admittedly clever callback to an older Corolla commercial. It features a woman with a broken-down Corolla on a desolate road, but the kicker is it turns out to be a trap because Toyotas never break down. It’s an ad that’s been recreated for multiple markets, sometimes hilariously poorly. However, in the decades that we’ve been into cars the term “sleeper” has always meant a stock or slow-looking car that’s actually packing more power than it appears, meant to lull opponents into a false sense of confidence in races. Admittedly I’m pretty old myself so if the kids are using sleeper in some newfangled way to mean “old lady that turns out to be Ryan Tuerck,” I’ll stand corrected.

Incidentally, the first-gen featured appears to be the exact same car we drove in 2016 to honor the 50th anniversary of the Corolla. It was an awesome car on every level, but if the creators think it’s even remotely possible that a 60-horsepower, rear-wheel-drive KE10 can keep up with a 300-horsepower, AWD rally monster on a dirt road, they’re nuts.

What irked us the most though is that they kept referring to the KE10 as a “Seventies Corolla”. While technically a 1970 model, the KE10 is decidedly a 1960s car, launched in 1966 and ending production in the first year of the 70s. The idea was to let the audience know Corollas have been around a long time, right? There are three whole generations of Corolla that any Toyota enthusiast immediately visualizes when someone says “Seventies Corolla” and none of them are the E10.

The GR Corolla is an exciting car and it deserves a good campaign. Thankfully, Toyota says this is the last of the series featuring the marketers and execs. There have been other GR Corolla ads that makes enthusiasts feel represented (though it seems they’ve been taken down) so we know Toyota is capable of good ads. Next time, just let Ryan Tuerck do the whole thing.

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12 Responses to 1970 KE10 chases Toyota GR Corolla in new ad that is cringe

  1. CycoPablo says:

    I think they went with 70s for two reasons. Firstly, the oil crisis that helped popularise small cars for a while. Secondly (and related) the Foreman family had a 70s Corolla after downsizing, giving the gas-guzzler to their son, Eric.

    But man, Toyota used to do marketing like no other. Sure, it was exaggerated, but this jumps the shark!

  2. steve says:

    Hey Toyota, just let us know when the GR will be available at dealers without markup. How about an ad marketing actually selling the car to enthusiasts that can afford the car without dealer gouging.

  3. Azfer says:

    I think JNC is looking too much into the ad. Just enjoy ads with actual stunts instead of green screen special effects. Who cares if the classic Corolla can’t keep up or they used the term sleeper incorrectly? I’m just happy there’s an authentic Toyota performance machine. The appearance of the other GR vehicles is good to keep emphasizing Toyota’s offerings across a range of $.

  4. Crown says:

    About time we saw a car enthusiat’s ad from Toyota instead the constant grocery getter ads.

  5. Ian N says:

    Yet another advert packed full of ageism and stereotypes. A World only populated by twenty to thirty year-olds – with anyone over forty only ever used as a platform for ridicule (or reserved exclusively for funeral ads).

    • Crown says:

      Has it ever been different?

    • nlpnt says:

      Automotive marketers like to show young men driving their cars because any front-line car salesman will tell you it’s easier to sell a masculine car to a woman customer and a youthful one to a mature buyer, than it is to sell a “chick car” to a guy or a “fogeyish” one to a kid.

  6. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Aw cone on! The KE10 IS a 70’s car, because that’s when it showed up here. Sure a TE27 SR5 (mine) would have been a cool thing, but that was not the point in this commercial.
    And SUUURE… A K-engines car with what, 48hp isn’t going to keep up with the 300gp GR, but again, not the point. It’s merely a callback to the original Corolla. People wouldn’t be complaining if a 1964 1/2 Mustang was chasing a 2024 Shelby GT500…
    It’s also not saying Toyota is run by accounting suits, it’s saying the ad company is run by suits and a reflection of corporate America.
    This is to show that the Corolla has come a long way from a basic people mover to an honest sports car.

  7. Taylor C. says:

    It seemed like a rather long and somewhat cringey commercial.

  8. Jonathan P. says:

    Honestly, is this was advertised as the new TF&TF movie, I’d be interested. As a car advertisement, I get more “Old people don’t understand us” vibes.
    The stunts and stuff are nice, but eh. Maybe I’m just jaded from advertisements that feel fake.

  9. Jonathan P. says:

    Found a new Toyota Camry commercial I can vibe with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qsSMRb0Vas

  10. thatdirtykid says:

    Its easy to jump a car. Not so much land one. They cut before the good part.

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