Friday, December 2, 2011


"Toyota recently put out an ad campaign for their "reinvented 2012" Camry.  They essentially created their own Korean drama over this car.  It was melodramatic, outlandish in plot line, unrealistic in portrayal, and starred a cast of gorgeous male leads: Lee Minho and Lee Minho.  In a word?  Brilliant.  Toyota wasn't taking themselves too seriously with this in the most "we take ourselves too seriously" manner.  It was hilarious.  For a company to laugh at themselves, tongue-in-cheek, the way Toyota was, suddenly made me more interested in the company.

I wish I had been a fly on the wall when the company's advertising division came up with the idea and the plot line.  Someone(s) obviously knew their Korean dramas because they pulled out all the cliches.

The Ad Think Tank - synergistic thinking at its best.
"Let's have the biggest star in the Korean drama industry..."

"Yes!  And let's have him wake up out from a month-long coma."

"With perfect hair and hooked up to no machines with simply an IV in one arm."

"Of course!  This is a Korean drama, not reality!  This means of course the man has amnesia and all his phone contacts have been deleted and his wallet is emptied."

"Did you even have to state the obvious?  And then...the CAMRY will help him regain his memory."

"Brilliant.  What does he need to remember?  The girl!"

"Of course the girl!  She'll be as beautiful as he."

"More beautiful than Lee Minho?"

"Okay, so maybe not as beautiful but close.  And he'll be engaged to this girl but...there has to be a catch...and an evil long lost twin somewhere."

"He has to stop the evil twin who just broke out of prison from pretending to be him to marry his fiancee."

"I think we're onto something here."

And really, they were.  (You can see the trailer below and the entire series here)

I laughed over each episode and appreciated all the Camry points they threw in.  Sure, it would have been more helpful to have Lee Minho recall who he was by the fact that Sohee (his fiancee) was on the list of recently visited places but showing off the Pandora app was definitely cooler.  Sure, Lee Minho insisted that he could get to wherever he needed to go in an hour and ended up driving for what seemed like days, but the car needed to be shown with the backdrop of the mountains in the day and at sunset.  Sure, it was kind of weird to have motorcyclists randomly follow him during this long journey but it showed off the new blind spot monitor.  All of these little quips just made me laugh more - the melodrama of it all was perfect given the setup.  (They just needed a random U-turn in the middle of a six lane street in a busy city to seal the deal)

Yesterday, the last episode came out.  "The Camry will prove everything!"  Lee Minho insisted as he pulled out his cell phone, synced it with the car and turned on the Pandora app to blare out the theme song.  For some reason, his spoken Korean and that song were enough to convince the English-only speaking police officers who turned tail and chased down the evil twin and hauled him back to jail.  All that was left then was the happy ending.

But what's a Korean drama without a twist ending so that the audience is left reeling.  The reactions? (from the website; I'm only putting initials of the commenters)

"What the what?"  ~ TH
"So Kwon is with sohee and Joon is in jail? o_O
Confusing ending... the Toyota proved nothing -__-"   ~ CY
"No matter how much we love Lee Min Ho, this doesn't make me want a Camry. It puts innocent people in jail. LIES!"   ~ VM 

"Darn you Camry! I'm buyin' a Ford!"  ~ LC

"Lee Min Ho is an extremely talented actor and outrageously handsome man! I'm sure he got a good laugh out of doing this advertisement! It shows the mischievous, prankster side of his personality! Well done! I will buy another Camry! I wish these commercials would air on American TV! Lee Min Ho please come to Northern California next time!"  ~LC (different one)

"WHAT? He's actually Kwon and the real Joon went to jail? THIS PROVES NOTHING! what is Toyota trying to say? I'm so confused. First, they're giving off the image that a Camry protects and keeps you safe, then they show the owner/real joon going to jail. *sigh* I did enjoyed the mini series though :)"  ~ NN

Did Toyota go a little too far in their replication of the Korean drama?  You tell me...

(For those of you who watch the series and want to tell me what you think it means, please feel free to post your ideas or contact me.  I have some theories...)


  1. Okay, I watched it. I want to know your theory.

  2. Theory 1: Joon was the one who was in jail - that his evil brother had actually framed him years before. But that doesn't explain the girl or the car (since he would have been in jail).

    Theory 2: Kwon was the evil one who actually was in love with the girl and that he spent his time in jail thinking about her and missing her. But that doesn't explain declaring himself the real Joon.

    These theories of course are other people's suggestions. Mine is this: Between the capture and the runaway at the very end, Kwon managed to switch himself out with Joon. Nothing else fits. The guy who was in a coma was innocent of crime. The man who was at the wedding had something to hide. There was one guy who escaped prison. One who did not. One guy who had an earring was in jail. The guy who drove away in the car had an earring.

    Do you have any better ideas?