What this Direct Response Copywriter Thinks About the Toyota Space Shuttle Stunt

Nice Stunt but…

On October 13, a Toyota Tundra, a pickup truck, will tow the 300,000 pound space shuttle to its final resting place at The California Science Center.

The choice of truck is no accident: it’s an advertising stunt organized by Saatchi and Saatchi to promote their client, Toyota.

Don’t believe it? Click here.

It will be amazing advertising with a 'to-die-for' message: "our truck is so strong it can tow a space shuttle."

The creatives at Saatchi and Saatchi who have organized this ad are giddy with themselves. Toyota got the nod, evidently, because it already had a ‘relationship’ with the aforementioned California Science Center.

OK. Follow the money. Whatever.

There will be plenty of free pub but the actual advertising will be on YouTube. It’s not actually that difficult to rig a vehicle to tow something big but that’s neither here nor there. A tug can tow a 747-8 that weighs over 975,000 pounds (442,253 kg) MTOW.


One of the people involved in the stunt has breathlessly declared: “This isn’t advertising. It’s history.”


Publicity comes and goes. It mostly goes. Tuesday’s news is usually forgotten by Thursday. It might be history but it's forgotten eventually.

If I were the marketing manager for Toyota, I would say to the advertising genii, “Nice stunt. Well done. Throw a party. BUT...how are we going to measure the direct impact on Tundra sales? Will it affect overall Toyota sales? What’s the ROI?”

As a direct response copywriter, I can be creative but there’s only one reason to get my creative boots on: drive response.

The people involved in the project are:

  • Executive Creative Directors Chris Adams and Margaret Keene
  • Senior Copywriter Graham McCann
  • Creative Director Erich Funke
  • Senior Art Director Verner Soler

Chris, Margaret, Graham, Erich, and Verner: please tell me how many Tundras the stunt sells. If it sells TONS of Tundras, hats off. But if Tundra sales fail to increase enough to justify the cost, what’s the point?

If you tell me it’s all to promote the brand then it’s ALL a waste of time…to this direct response copywriter. We don't do branding in direct response because you can't directly measure ROI.

And if you disagree with my logic, go here and tell me why David Ogilvy is wrong.

Hat's off. Great stunt. What's the ROI?


I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing content and copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy, landing page copy and copy that just plain persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.