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New Toyota commercial celebrates 100 years of Negro Leagues Baseball

Toyota is celebrating the history of baseball's Negro Leagues in its new commercial.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

When baseball players in the Negro Leagues showed up, they showed out. That's what the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander is trying to do with its sleek new exterior and refined interior. A new commercial from the Japanese automaker called "Home Team" looks to shine light on both.

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of Negro Leagues Baseball, the segregated alternative to Major League Baseball that existed prior to integration in the late 1940s. In honor of the centennial, Toyota opted to include a player from that era in their latest commercial.

James "Jim" Robinson, former captain of the Kansas City Monarchs is featured as the family patriarch in the spot, titled "Home Team." Robinson's career started after Jackie Robinson had made it to the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1947. The young Jim Robinson played his first Negro Leagues game for the Philadelphia Stars at Yankee Stadium.

After also playing for the Indianapolis Clowns, Robinson earned an invite to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals. The Korean War interrupted his chance to try out then, but after serving 21 months in the military, he got another chance. After his tryout, the Cardinals assigned him to a Class B minor-league team.

Instead of accepting his fate, Robinson instead left the Cardinals affiliate and took his chances with the Kansas City Monarchs. It's a replica of that Monarchs jersey that Robinson wears in the Highlander commercial.

The Toyota commercial was filmed partly at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We are truly delighted that Toyota has chosen to honor the unsung heroes of the Negro Leagues this way," says Bob Kendrick, President, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. "The passion, determination, and unwavering spirit from these individuals is truly an American story."

"Home Team" will begin airing on March 30, 2020.

Go behind the scenes of the commercial below.

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Hyundai will appear as the sponsor of the Sunday Night Football Kickoff Show.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Football is back. Hyundai is returning as the presenting Kickoff Show sponsor of NBC's Sunday Night Football. The program has been the most-watched primetime TV program for nine consecutive seasons. Hyundai will have a presence on the show each week.

"Sunday Night Football is one of our signature sponsorships in generating brand awareness among the 20 million viewers each week," said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. "We are focusing this year on our flagship SUV Palisade and showcasing its capabilities as the ideal tailgate vehicle with its three-row automatic folding seats, generous cargo space and loaded technology."

In seasons past, Hyundai has presented "Cover 2" and "Game Winning Drive" content campaigns. The "Cover 2" campaign featured a former player from both teams playing during a select Sunday Night Football game discussing their rivalry, what makes it special to them, and the fans while driving around the home-team's city in a Hyundai Santa Fe. One of the spots, shown below, featured former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed.

"Game Winning Drive" featured similar matchups in the 2020 Hyundai Palisade three-row SUV. It featured NFL greats James Harrison, Jamal Lewis, Ty Law, and Antonio Gates.

For the 2020 edition, two former running backs will join together in a conversation around the game while enjoying cuisine from the home city that week. They'll tailgate using the new-for-2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Edition. "Tailback Tailgate" will air during "Football Night in America" leading into three Sunday Night Football games.

Additionally, Hyundai's presenting sponsorship of the kickoff show will include numerous branding elements, including logo animations, in-studio signage, and logo placements on the broadcast's countdown clock. Here's a sneak peek at those elements.

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The newly named Lunar Cruiser is set to arrive on the moon's surface in 2030.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

A partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has delivered the Toyota Lunar Cruiser, a four-seat moon rover. Work on the project has lasted over a year, commencing in July 2019.

With a name inspired by Toyota's Land Cruiser SUV, the Lunar Cruiser is a six-wheel utility vehicle that is six meters long, five meters wide and about four meters high. It can accommodate two people for regular use and four in an emergency.

JAXA-Toyota Lunar Cruiser

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

This isn't just a one-off project designed to generate publicity for JAXA and Toyota. The Lunar Cruiser's design and engineering process has a number of milestones set out to meet. Starting in 2022, the partnership will manufacture a 1:1 scale prototype of the rover then begin acquiring and verifying testing data on driving systems required to explore the moon's polar regions.

Two years later, it is expected that progress will be able to advance to allow for design, manufacturing, and evaluation of an engineering model of the rover and design of the actual flight model will begin. By 2027, the flight model will be manufactured and design and evaluation of the model will be underway.

It's projected to be ready for work in 2029. JAXA plans to use it as part of a manned exploration in 2030.

When manned, the rover will be pressurized and is designed to use fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technologies to navigate the moon's surface.

Pressurised Rover Concept | Toyota and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency www.youtube.com

This isn't the only massive fuel cell technology undertaking Toyota is involved in. They recently revealed plans to create an alternatively fueled live-work-play testing facility at the base of Mt. Fuji.

While those projects are ongoing, Toyota is moving forward with passenger car and tractor trailer FCEV technology. They recently debuted a redesigned Mirai sedan and have begun installing hydrogen fueling stations along the western coast of California to be used by the overland trucking industry. The company continues efforts to lobby towns on the East Coast of the U.S. to adapt restrictive laws to be more receptive to FCEV vehicles.

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