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The Banned Toyota TV Ad

(or The Ad That Got Toyota NZ Heaps of Free Advertising)

NOTE: This movie file is approximately 2.3MB
and requires QuickTime 5

(But has a bigger picture than the previous version that I had here.)

Something to read while the video downloads...

Top Gear does the Hilux 4WD again

This web site got an extraordinary number of hits after Top Gear showed the Toyota "Bugger" ad, and they've featured the Toyota Hilux 4WD utility again - this time trying to destroy it.

So Jeremy Clarkson (with a bit of help):

  • Drove it down stairs.
  • Drove it through the corner of at least a couple of stone/concrete walls.
  • Drove it into a tree*.
  • Tied it to a boat ramp and let the tide come in. (The ropes holding it down broke so it was covered for 5+ hours.)
  • Dropped it onto the grass behind Jeremy from somewhere higher than Jeremy (and out of shot).
  • Drove it though a (mock) wooden shed.
  • Dropped a caravan on it.
  • Smacked it 'round with a wrecking ball (which mostly just straightened the bonnet/hood bent in the tree crash).
  • Set fire to it.

And it was driven triumphantly onto the Top Gear set at the end of the show.

So they tried again, this time James May plonking it on top of a 240 foot high building due for demolition. The building blew up, the Hilux fell, and ... after it was dug out and the battery reconnected, it was driven triumphantly onto the Top Gear set a second time. They decided to let it retire to the Top Gear Hall of Fame.

I'm a little disappointed Jeremy Clarkson didn't try to destroy the four wheel drive transmission, but considering everything else the vehicle went through, perhaps he wouldn't have been able to. (Maybe it just wouldn't have made good TV - who needs 4WD to crawl into a warehouse?

* It seems the tree was in a church carpark...

Local people had thought the damage to the trunk last year had been caused accidentally or by vandals - until the stunt was shown on television in a recent edition of Top Gear.


A BBC spokesman said: "Top Gear have unreservedly apologised to the parish council for driving the pick-up into the tree.
"In acknowledgement of this, we have sent the parish council compensation in the form of a donation [£250] for them to use as they feel is appropriate."

So all well that ends well. Just don't let Jeremy Clarkson go driving into trees in the future.

Abandoned Hilux

Read about a Hilux abandoned in a New Zealand river for a week.(Link opens in a new window - in case you're in the middle of downloading the movie.) Yes, the engine started when it was eventually pulled out.

But getting back to the Toyota Hilux ad...

A bit of New Zealand History - On Again, Off Again

When this advertisement first screened on New Zealand television in 1999 the Television Standards Complaints Authority received 120 complaints. Advertising companies sometimes run a fine line between being funny and being offensive - advertising is a risky business. The advertisement was taken off air while the news media had a great time with the story. The ad was eventually put back on air again, but only after 8:30pm - adult viewing time in New Zealand.

In Australia the same ad got just one complaint. Incidently, the farmer is played by an Australian actor. There's a rumour that no sufficiently farmer-looking New Zealand actor could be found who could say "Bugger!" convincingly enough.

There was also a one-off modified screening of this ad, possibly on the Fair Go Ad Awards. It was identical except for the soundtrack in which all the "Bugger!" exclamations had been replaced by other B words such as "Bother!" I didn't see it myself but I'm told it was absolutely hilarious if you knew the proper version well.


15 November 2001. A new Toyota Bugger Ad was spotted on TV this evening. The dog gets it really bad at the end of the ad. We were laughing so much we almost didn't hear the poor thing say "bugger." The outhouse has been rebuilt since the first ad but again gets demolished during the ad and the dog somehow ends up flying through the air and landing down the hole. The poor thing's "Bugger!" is heard echoing upward from the depths.

And part of an article from the NZ Herald hints at how much New Zealanders love (and hate) the ad, and also indicates how much a part of the New Zealand culture the ad is now:

Complaints to standards authority show not everyone thinks sex sells

13 December 2001


Sex, nudity and misdirected humour are still raising people's hackles.

Advertising complaints have increased on last year despite relaxing attitudes, says Glen Wiggs, executive director of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Complaints are not always a bad thing - think of Toyota's "bugger" advertisement.

That complaint, in 1999, was not upheld, but the issue generated heated debate, which in turn ensured media coverage. A new version of the advertisement has now appeared, this time in an urban setting.

But complaints are certainly never sought after, says Andrew Tinning, creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, which made the advertisement.

"Setting out to offend people is not a smart thing to do. We have a responsibility to be sensitive, and not be offensive or exploitative.

"The last thing we want to do with a client is attract negative publicity."

Italics added.


4 May 2004. The latest Toyota Hilux 4WD ad (I saw it today) features a couple of apparently real kiwi farmers talking about how they used their Hilux to pull a foal out of its mother when she was having trouble giving birth to it. They don't recommend people do it every day. Not surprisingly, the foal is now named Hilux.


27 May 2004. Hercules, the dog appearing in the Bugger ad, has died. Click on the pic at right for the article from the New Zealand Herald.

(Opens in new window.)



28 May 2004. In a tribute to Hercules, NZ Herald correspondent Stuart Broughton had this to say:

(Opens in new window.)


So I guess we can say that there won't be any more Toyoya "Bugger" ads ... at least, not quite the same.

And something silly to finish off with...

NEWS: Toyota to lose rights to "Bugger" Advertising Slogan

Reuters, AP. 1 April, 2000.

In a landmark decision, the Australian Commercial Practices Court today ruled that Toyota is no longer allowed to run its advertising campaign based on the word "Bugger". Explained Court spokesman Loof Lirpa, "Some time ago Microsoft took out an injunction against the use of the word 'Bugger' in Toyota's ad. It was argued that 'Bugger' had been associated with Windows far longer and far more deeply than with Toyota's utes."

Lirpa went on to suggest that every Windows user in the world uses the word at least once a day as a direct result of using Windows. "No other product has ever achieved that degree of market recognition and for Toyota to muscle in on it was clearly a breach of commercial etiquette and, ipso facto, copyright."

Microsoft is now planning a media-wide campaign using their catch-word. A copy that has been leaked to us shows several familiar faces - Steven King is shown saving the last page of his new 800 page blockbuster in Word and then re-opening it to find that it has been reduced to three smiley faces and half a dozen Japanese characters. He smiles wanly at the camera and says "......"

Kerry Packer is shown shaking his head knowingly and muttering "......" when he discovers that the spreadsheet on which he based his latest $4 billion takeover has suffered from the notorious Excel "four sevens are thirty six" feature and that the Ayer's Rock Hot Pie Company is somewhat overvalued.

The head of the CIA (with his faced pixilated) is shown shouting "......" on finding that Outlook has just e-mailed the entire contents of his hard drive to the head of the KGB. She, in turn, says "byugyah" when the files are found to be in last year's Access format.

A spokesthing for Microsoft commented, "This is a logical move for the company that used "You make a grown man cry" and "The damned and accursed are convicted to the flames of Hell" as advertising slogans for its software. We anticipate establishing the slogan in the marketplace by including a t-shirt printed with "Bugger Microsoft" in every box of our software."