Drifting in a Mall? Toyota’s Pitch Part II Takes Another Turn at Car Ads

Drifting in a Mall? Toyota’s Pitch Part II Takes Another Turn at Car Ads

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  • Toyota Gazoo Racing’s latest entry in their “Pitch” campaign takes a playful jab at automotive marketing
  • In this second installment, “The Focus Group,” a thrilling drift duel inside of an abandoned shopping center challenges the conventional approach to automotive advertisements
  • Featuring professional Toyota Gazoo Racing team drivers, race modified cars and a GR86, a drift race through an empty mall delights a customer focus group
  • With Toyota’s all new GR86 featured in the spot, it showcases the car’s precision handling in an environment that truly pushes the limits of cautious marketers

PLANO, Texas (March 22, 2022) – What if car commercials were just as exciting as the cars themselves? Toyota takes aim at that question in the latest installment of its “Pitch” series with “The Focus Group.” In this round, Toyota Gazoo North America Racing (TGR-NA) team drivers make precision maneuvers in race modified cars and a GR86 inside and around an abandoned shopping mall. But, as the suits step in and ask for a more subdued approach, the focus group quickly loses interest, and the drivers, they just keep being themselves.

Featuring the all-new 2022 GR86, drift racing versions of GR Supras and TGR-NA Drivers Frederic Aasbø, Ken Gushi and Jhonnattan Castro at the wheel, the cars whip between the mundane and fantastic. From a white-knuckle slide into a parking spot to a snooze inducing crawl into one, the drivers and customers alike yearn for the cars to show their true colors.

Shopping at GR Speed

“The Focus Group” is a four-minute spot that was shot in the dusty corridors of an abandoned shopping center in the Chicago suburbs. Created by Sweatpants Media in partnership with Toyota Gazoo Racing, an intricate three-day shoot in frosty winter temperatures filled the empty spaces with the squeal of tires as professional drivers carefully navigated the mall hallways.

“After such a fun and successful shoot with Toyota for the Supra doing ‘The Pitch,’ we were excited to team up again to make a follow-up for the GR86,” said producer Elliot Blanco. “We wanted a unique location for this one, and we’re so lucky to have found an abandoned mall outside of Chicago. With the perfect location, amazing cars and amazing drivers, we were able to push them to the limit and make an incredibly epic film; we can’t wait for the next one!”

Sweatpants created both “Pitch” spots, directed by Alberto Blanco and creative director Mike Zeller, to show how the all-new GR86 symbolizes self-expression with a fun-to-drive, stylish sports car. In “The Focus Group,” authentic self-expression is exhibited through skilled driving and delighted focus group members. While mundane driving results in a case of instant boredom.

Media Campaign Placements

The GR86 “Focus Group” installment and “The Pitch” is a social campaign extending across social media and digital video placements targeting auto enthusiasts and sports car intenders. Toyota will share the spot across their Toyota USA owned media social platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. “The Focus Group” and “The Pitch” are also available for viewing on the GR Family page on Toyota.com.

“The Pitch” campaign was developed considering the transcultural mainstream audiences across America. Toyota campaigns are integrated through one strategic brief, creative idea and media plan – and create a cohesive marketing approach inclusive of multicultural marketing and the total market model.

The campaign’s digital emphasis consists of paid social placements with a mix of native video and video link advertisements. The full four-minute piece will run exclusively on YouTube. The digital campaign will run through April and May, just as the spring driving season gets under way in the northern half of the U.S.

To watch the video, please click here.

About the 2022 GR 86

The all-new 2022 Toyota GR86, the new generation of Toyota’s driver’s car, brings affordable sports car fun, all with a larger 2.4-liter engine that delivers improved 0-60 times. Available in two grades, the all-new GR86 features a redesigned interior and exterior with a starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just $27,700. Available at Toyota dealerships now, the thrills are just around the corner with the all-new 2022 GR86.

Key features include:

  • Precision handling, low center of gravity and near perfect balance
  • Available in a choice of 6-speed manual or paddle shifted 6-speed automatic transmission
  • 2.4L flat-four engine rewards drivers with an improved torque curve throughout the rev range
  • Functional vents and air outlets maximize handling precision
  • Updated interior features new seating, 7-in. digital instrument cluster and multimedia system
  • Complimentary 1-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) with 1 High Performance Driving Event (HPDE)


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing embodies Toyota’s commitment to overcoming every limit to make ‘ever-better’ cars, forge new technologies and find mobility solutions under the extreme conditions of motorsports. Competing on every kind of road, no matter what the challenge, inspires TOYOTA GAZOO Racing to continuously improve the quality of all Toyota vehicles and engineer Toyota’s future DNA that brings freedom, adventure and the joy of driving to everyone. For more information, visit www.toyotagazooracing.com.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our nearly 1,500 dealerships.

Toyota directly employs more than 39,000 people in the U.S. who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 32 million cars and trucks at our nine manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 10th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles.  With the more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, a quarter of the company’s 2021 U.S. sales were electrified.

To help inspire the next generation for a career in STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched its virtual education hub at www.TourToyota.com with an immersive experience and chance to virtually visit many of our U.S. manufacturing facilities. The hub also includes a series of free STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips and more. For more information about Toyota, visit www.ToyotaNewsroom.com.

Paul Hogard
[email protected]

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