Ellen & Toyota Highlander Hybrid Make TV History

Torrance, CA - Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres made history on a US daytime talk show last Friday when she broadcasted the first-ever live commercial on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", comparing the key features of the 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to the key features of her own show.

Ellen had always admired the live commercials in the old "Tonight Show" and in her own improvisational style, wanted to re-create the retro-style commercial and surprise her audience by resurrecting the live commercial during her show.  Using her improvisational comedy, the commercial felt organic to her audience. Toyota is the first marketer to be involved in the live commercial on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"This is normally the point that I would say it's time to go to a commercial we'll be right back. Remember in the old days, they used to do commercials right in the show? They were long too. Like Jack Parr would stop the show to tell you about his favorite brand of cigarettes? Or Steve Allen would tell you about his favorite brand of cigarettes? Or Ed Sullivan would tell you about his favorite brand of cigarettes? There was so much smoke, you could barely see Topo Gigio (making reference to the famous puppet from the 50's). Anyway, we thought it would be fun to bring back that old feeling of live commercials -- not the cigarettes, the commercials. But times have changed, and because everything is fast-paced and hip and all that stuff?," said Ellen DeGeneres.

During the live 30-second commercial, Ellen cites some comparisons of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," including the Highlander's second row center stow seat that folds down for easy access and "Ellen's" second row that folds their laundry.  The talk show host also refers to the Highlander's back-up camera. DeGeneres quips to the audience that her show also has a back-up camera as the audience sees a cameraman behind her.

The commercial was a collaborative effort involving Ms. DeGeneres, the writers of her show, Toyota and their agency Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles.

"Ellen's universal appeal and comedic point of view make her a natural for live commercials which can organically be integrated into the show and provides a new and entertaining way to break through the clutter and build stronger partnerships with our advertisers, " said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, President, Telepictures Productions.

"Ellen's comedic style and the strong bond she has with her audience made her an ideal choice for our first live commercial," said Kim McCullough, Corporate Manager of Marketing Communications for Toyota. "This live commercial is a unique and entertaining way to raise awareness of the Highlander Hybrid's key features amongst women and young families."

"In an era where we share the advertiser's goal to deliver their brand messages in innovative ways, Toyota was an ideal partner given their rich history of identifying unique opportunities such as live commercials," said Michael Teicher, Executive Vice President, Media Sales, Warner Bros. Television Group.

In addition to being broadcast on the show, the commercial will be featured on YouTube and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show's" website, www.Ellentv.com

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