He will lead you through the jungle, a haunted house, to the bottom of the sea and to the top of the mountains. He’s here to guide you safely through the experience of automobile shopping. He’s Professor Highlander, the mascot for Toyota Direct of Columbus, and Brainstorm has made him the star of a series of television spots that’s been on the air for over two years.
Despite his apparent age, the Professor was born in May of 2014. Debbie Dalton of Gatehouse Media came to us with her idea for an Indiana Jones-type explorer who would “discover” great deals at Toyota Direct. The spots needed to be engaging, quick to produce, and fit her client’s budget. Brainstorm took the visual examples she gave us and created Professor Highlander. His mission: to guide us safely on the perilous journey to reasonably-priced vehicles, deftly leading us directly to Toyota Direct. At first, he was only seen from the shoulders up as he led us through the jungle encountering traps, snakes and crocodiles. We used a budget-friendly cutout style for the animation, simplified by covering the Professor’s mouth with his mustache, in order to afford costly lip-sync animation.
The spot was extremely successful. Since his first adventure, the Professor has gained more moving parts (including hands and legs!) and appeared in many different locations and costumes over the course of dozens of spots. But wherever he travels, he always returns brings us back to “Go direct… to Toyota Direct!” It’s been fun for Brainstorm Media to go along with him, and rewarding for our client:
The creative team at Brainstorm Media helped make Toyota Direct stand out in a cluttered automotive advertising landscape with our animated Professor Highlander. From the top of the Alps to the ocean floor, Professor has become a Toyota Direct brand ambassador helping us achieve increased sales over the past two years.
– D.D. happy client
Check out some highlights from the Professor’s adventures: