Toyota has given us some great advertising campaigns over the decades but we reckon the one that topped them all was the infamous Hilux TV commercial of the late 1990s.

Made by Saatchi & Saatchi in New Zealand, the ad was designed to appeal to NZ and Aussie Hilux buyers based on a series of hilarious farming mishaps, with each incident provoking the same one word response – ‘Bugger!’

In fact ‘bugger’ and ‘bugger me’ were pretty much the only dialogue used in the commercial, which was a big factor in its larrikan appeal to Australian and New Zealand audiences.

And word is they had to find an Aussie actor to play the farmer, because they couldn’t find a Kiwi actor that could say ‘bugger!’ convincingly enough.

While the use of a word that describes sodomy could have caused great offence in other countries, its wide-held  acceptance as a laconic slang term in Australia and NZ  (to describe great annoyance or disgust at something) made it unique to TV screens in that part of the world.

Even so, when this commercial first appeared on NZ television in 1999, the Television Standards Complaint Authority received 120 complaints! The advert was immediately banned and remained off air until the TSCA ruled that ‘bugger’ was unlikely to cause serious offence and it returned – only this time in adult viewing time after 8.30pm.

In Australia, the advert only attracted one complaint (must have been a Kiwi on holidays!) and universal praise for its irreverance and laid-back humour. It also got the point across about the Hilux pick-up truck’s legendary power, strength and durability, which was the whole point of course. It’s just a really funny ad. Why don’t they make ‘em like this anymore? TJ


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