Celebrities are often known for using their star power and media exposure for the greater good. Ellen DeGeneres is one such famous person who is no stranger to getting her socially conscious messages across to millions. This time it wasn’t about pet adoption, but rather about the positive impact of hybrid vehicles on the environment. And she did so by promoting her own personal vehicle, a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, on a live in-show ad. Just before the station break, Ellen began talking about the throwback television programs of yesteryear that would do live product spots for cigarettes. “We thought it would be fun to bring back that old feeling of live commercials—not the cigarettes, the commercials.” Then she headed over to her Highlander Hybrid, which was parked right there in the studio, and began her spiel.
For 30 seconds before an actual commercial break, Ellen spoke about the virtues of her Highlander Hybrid, which include its "hybrid EV mode that allows it to run on its own electric motor." Of course, she effectively infused her brand of humor into the ad with jokes like her camerman being her back-up camera. The idea was to be both informative and entertaining, and who better then Ellen to find that perfect balance.
When the show came back from the station break, Ellen was sprawled out on the hood of her Highlander a la sultry car model. Her overzealous antics were hilarious. But after that kind of over-the-top performance, the hope is that people will still remember the vehicle itself as well as its green impact on motoring . Kim McCullough, Toyota’s corporate manager of marketing communications said, "Ellen’s comedic style and the strong bond she has with her audience made her an ideal choice for our first live commercial.”