Steak and cheesus Christ! Saatchi & Saatchi dabbles in the surreal with new Hilux campaign—UPDATED

Youtube VideoWhen compiling a list of classic Kiwi TVCs, there are bound to be a few Toyota Hilux ads in there. With the likes of Bugger and the Scotty and Crumpy series, it’s a product with a rich advertising heritage, so a new campaign is always cause for a bit of excitement, both for Toyota fans and for many in the marcomms sector. And Saatchi & Saatchi has gone to great, rather surreal and comical lengths with the ‘Tougher than you can Imagine’ campaign to launch the 2012 model. 

The new campaign, which features volcanoes, rock slides, hog riding hogs, steak and cheese pies, an exaggerating man of the land and, much like Bugger, a talking animal, went live during the All Blacks vs France match and, understandably, focuses on toughness, like it does in its other markets. But loyal supporters got an exclusive first view on Friday on its Facebook page and freshly launched YouTube channel. As well as the Thick as Thieves TV spot, it will also encompass print, outdoor, point of sale, with a participation idea over summer.

“Our Hilux commercials over the years have captured Kiwis’ imagination and become an icon of New Zealand television,” says Neeraj Lala, assistant general manager marketing and product. “The campaign has already been fueling great Hilux conversations around New Zealand with thousands of hits on YouTube, along with fantastic comments across our social media platforms.”

Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive Nicky Bell says the campaign is the next expression of the famous Hilux ‘Unbreakable’ positioning and she’s pleased Kiwis appear to be enjoying this as much as they did those classics of the past.

Lala says the Top to Bottom’ campaign for the launch of the FJ Cruiser, which featured daily YouTube and Facebook content from Marc Ellis’ off-road journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff, showed how keen Toyota fans and loyal customers are to engage with the company—and with each other—via social media. The website, which included links to daily videos posted on YouTube, attracted nearly 600,000 page views from 85,000 unique visits; the Facebook page had nearly 9,000 ‘likes’, and attracted more than 2.2 million post views; and fans made over 3,400 online submissions of trip ideas.

“Social media is probably the greatest communication phenomenon of the past two decades, and gives us the chance to have conversations with the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who drive Toyotas and love the brand,” says Lala. “…  In future, Facebook will become the place where fans can be the first to know about Toyota New Zealand news, special offers, events and launches, and to interact with our ambassadors.”


Client – Toyota NZ

General Manager Of Marketing – Neeraj Lala

Marketing Team Leader – Susanne Hardy


Agency – Saatchi & Saatchi NZ

ECD – Antonio Navas

Creative Director – Scott Huebscher

Copywriter – Scott Huebscher

Art Director – Scott Huebscher

Agency Producer – Jane Oak

Group Account Director – Mark Cochrane

Account Director – Luke Farmer

Head of Strategy – Murray Streets


Production Co: Thick As Thieves

Director: Leo Woodhead

Executive Producer: Nik Beachman

Producer: Nikki Smith


DOP: Ginny Loane

Production Designer: Kim Jarett

Editor: Peter Sciberras @ The Butchery

Colourist: Pete Ritchie @ Toybox

VFX Supervisors: Damon Duncan, Rhys Dippie and Stefan Coory

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