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The Toyota GR family is no stranger to the world of Formula drift. Just recently, a video with Formula Drift professional driver Jhonnattan Castro came out, praising the GR86. Now, Toyota put out a fantastic, self-aware ad featuring Casto and a couple of other familiar Formula Drift faces.

‘The Focus Group’ makes fun of corporate advertising

Jhonnattan Castro Fredric Aasbo Ken Gushi drifting inside abanonded mall for new GR86 advertisement
GR cars in The Focus Group Ad | Toyota USA

Autoevolution is quick to point out that this ad is very self-aware in its intent. It starts with two representatives from Gazoo Racing interacting with Toyota marketing team members and discussing an advertisement for the GR86. In the background is a focus group reacting to video footage of their concepts. The GR team wants to lean into the performance aspect. However, the marketing suits prefer to highlight features like the backup camera. Obviously, the focus group watching finds the exciting driving and action scenes more exciting than the casual advertisement cliches. 

In the scene involving their exciting version of parking, reigning Formula Drift Champion Fredric Aasbo is behind the wheel. In competition, Aasbo drives a 1,000 horsepower GR Supra

Throughout the ad, things keep escalating as the GR team fights it out with the marketing suits about what should and shouldn’t be in the commercial. Throughout the remainder, Jhonnattan Castro shreds a GR86 around an abandoned mall. At the mention of adding more cars, the scene cuts back to the inside of the mall where Fredric Aasbo joins the GR86 in his pro Formula Drift car. Trailing right behind him is Ken Gushi, also in his Formula Drift Toyota GR Supra. Going three-wide through a mall and maintaining super tight drift tandems is quite a spectacle! 

After an amazing display of drifting by all three of these Formula Drift heavy hitters, the GR86 goes over a jump to the celebration of the entire focus group. 

Finally, the video ends with a teaser for the new Toyota GR Corolla hot hatchback. Supposedly, an all-wheel drive, turbo, 300 horsepower monster.

We get it; the GR86 is a fun car to drive

Fredric Aasbo parking white Toyota GR86 with a little flair for The Focus Group ad
Toyota GR86 outside mall | Toyota USA

Look, the advertisement may come off a little tacky to some. However, many car enthusiasts will undoubtedly love the jabs at corporate standards. Gazoo Racing developed the GR86 to make it fun to drive and appealing to car enthusiasts on a budget. So, mundane things like selling it on how great it looks or how easy it is to park are useless. Car enthusiasts know what the GR86 is for, and Toyota marketing knows that they know it, too. So, why beat around the bush? Just show this sports car getting driven like a sports car. It’s fantastic.

With a 228 horsepower boxer 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive, there’s no secret that this is a sports car for the masses. It’s affordable, agile, and fun. Of course, its updated looks compared to the outgoing GT86 and further handling developments only make it all that more enticing.

Whether or not you think the ad is a little cheesy, we all can agree on one thing. The GR86 is a fantastic sports car, and Toyota isn’t afraid to go full-throttle advertising it. They know their target market, for sure.


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