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Did someone say ‘meerkat’? Toyota SA launches bespoke limited-edition Hilux

Toyota SA has launched the next chapter in Toyota’s GR product story – a bespoke limited-edition Hilux GR Sport – with a new television commercial from FCB Joburg, featuring old family friends. ‘GR’ is the acronym for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s global motorsport division. The first chapter in its GR product story of high-performance, limited-edition models featured the Yaris GRMN, which was launched outside of Japan in 2018.

Inspired by Toyota’s overall victory at the 2019 Dakar Rally (its sixth consecutive top-five finish) and five years of success in the South African Cross Country Series, the limited-edition Hilux GR-Sport features upgraded suspension, engineered by Toyota Gazoo Racing, to ensure better turn-in and high-speed ability on and off road, without sacrificing comfort. Its bold and expressive styling is also part of the limited-edition upgrade. Features include a black honeycomb grille, red or white outline on the LED fog lights and a special serial number plate. Toyota Gazoo Racing lettering also features on the sides and tailgate, while inside, Gazoo Racing red accents match the black interior and Gazoo Racing branding adorns the headrests, floor mats, and start button.

‘The Hilux GR-Sport is designed to appeal to the “dashing expressives”, people who want a vehicle that delivers performance and off-road capability, as well as styling. They believe their Hilux is an extension of their lifestyle and enjoy motor sports, outdoor activities and off-roading,’ said one of Toyota’s Marketing Managers, Lensha Dlamini. ‘Our brief to FCB Joburg was to – quite simply – put the Hilux GR-Sport well and truly out there,’ she said. The agency’s response was to leverage Toyota’s Dakar equity – which features unbelievable driving and the inquisitive meerkat family and their ‘nod’ – across TV and cinema, radio, out-of-home, brochures, print, point-of-sale and digital (including a website).

Shot over two days in Cape Town with assistance from The Redhead Studio and Bird on a Wire, the TVC and cinema executions can be viewed here: and .  Creative Director, Tian van den Heever, explained the ‘nod’ context, ‘Every time a rally driver and his navigator traverse an obstacle – a dune, an anthill, a ‘donga’ – they respond physically. First, there’s the widening of the eyes. Then, their heads tilt back, before they wobble around uncontrollably as they land. We claimed this as the #TEAMHILUX nod in our 2018 ad as a mechanism to include all Toyota Hilux drivers in #TEAMHILUX as part of the family, so to speak.

‘The #TEAMHILUX nod was quickly adopted by many South Africans and used as a mark of acknowledgment from one to the other. For Dakar 2019, we brought in a family to help us up the appeal. Today, they’re no strangers to South Africa’s and the world’s screens, and – as desert icons themselves – were ideal to give the new Hilux GR-Sport the “nod”.’

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