In a commercial for the Toyota Highlander SUV, a tousle-haired preteen mocks his classmate Billy, whose dad picks him up from school in a wood-panelled Buick Roadmaster station wagon. “That’s what utter humiliation looks like,” the kid scoffs as Billy hides from his dad. “This Highlander is so cool, I actually want to be seen in it.”
The commercial seems to have backfired. In portraying itself as the “cool” choice, Toyota has reinforced how boring its vehicles can be—car enthusiasts love old station wagons, not hybrids, and the Buick Roadmaster is a cult classic. (Auto blog Jalopnik posted an updated version of the commercial that makes Billy’s station wagon look like the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.) “A Buick Roadmaster is, and always will be, cooler than a beige Highlander,” Matt Hardigree writes on Jalopnik. Among the many reasons, he notes, “It’s not a Toyota.”
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