Muhammad Ali Provides The Voiceover For Toyota In Its Beautiful & Inspiring Super Bowl Ad — VIDEOS
If you asked me to categorize Super Bowl commercials, "inspirational" would not be the first word that comes to mind. Olympic commercials make me bawl but Super Bowl commercials usually make me laugh or groan. However, this year's Toyota ad with Muhammad Ali's voiceover and Amy Purdy, the Paralympic snowboarder and model? It's absolutely stunning. Does it make me want to go for a run rather than buy a car? It does. However, it says a lot for a brand that would align itself with such powerful images and messages.
The two are a good fit. They are both so self-assured that it makes me want to do better. Who is Amy Purdy? She is a bronze medalist, dancer, and model who lost her legs to meningitis when she was a teenager. Her TED talk is all about using obstacles as inspiration to get yourself through and using imagination as a tool to achieve your goals.
"Our borders and our obstacles can only do two things," she says in the TED talk. "One, stop us in our tracks. Or two, force us to get creative." Focusing on positive and building yourself up can be the way to go as well! That's just what Muhammad Ali's words in the voiceover do for the commercial. Watch the advertisement and see for yourself.
The clip is verb intensive. We see Purdy running, driving, falling, getting back up again, dancing with a partner, wearing stilts in a photo shoot, and biking over a mountain. In addition to all of that action, we and also repairing her own leg. That's one of the most inspiring things, in my opinion. Not only is she physically fit and an artist, but she's an engineer who can fix her own mechanical problems — the TED talk mentions how she worked with professionals to design her legs when she was younger.
How about Muhammad Ali's voiceover? I want that to be my alarm clock every morning. This is the text of the speech that Ali gives in the advertisement:
I’m experienced now, professional. Jaws been broke, been knocked down a couple of times, I’m bad! Been chopping trees. I done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator. That’s right. I have wrestled with an alligator. I done tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail. That’s bad! Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick! I’m so mean I make medicine sick... All of you chumps are gonna bow when I whoop him. All of you! I know you've got him. I know you've got him picked. But the man's in trouble! I'm gonna show you how great I am.
Why this text? It's poetic. It's brimming with confidence. It works with the images because to a lot of us, dancing without our natural feet and running without our natural legs might seem as impossible as "handcuffing lightning and throwing thunder in jail." The heavyweight champion said these words before facing off against George Foreman in what was then known as Zaire for their "Rumble In The Jungle" back in October 1974. Ali won the fight, knocking Foreman out in the eighth round. The name for the event itself came from Ali as well, which is not surprising. Watch Ali give the speech himself at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel a month before the fight.
Are you ready to take on the world, like Muhammad Ali and Amy Purdy? As the Toyota ad says, "let's go places."