Ride of the Tacomas

You sitting on your couch watching some random show, when a commercial comes on. You see a truck driving down the road in a desert, with two dirt bikes riding next to it. The bikes make a sharp left, jumping off of two concrete ramps with a wooden gate between them. Then the gate suddenly explodes, the truck flying through it into the open desert. The music picks up, Ride of the Valkyries starts playing in the background. The concrete walls explode now as well. Two dirt bikes jump over the truck from the side. Three more trucks of different colors join the fray, along with seven more dirt bikes, all trekking across the desert. Also, there is a guy on a couch being pulled across the land by an ATV. A voice then says, “The all new Tacoma”. End commercial.

After seeing this commercial, you can see that it was built purely to catch one’s attention. What with the random explosions, the semi stunts from the dirt bikes, even the one guy on the couch and ATV. The ad itself tells you absolutely nothing about the vehicle, but does a pretty good job of keeping your attention throughout the entire 30 seconds of it, if anything just because of how ridiculous it appears. This is one of about 3 commercials released for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and all of them seem to have similar thematic elements. Namely those including; deserts, dirt bikes, dirt, sand, speed, power, and of course guys riding couches on snowboards on sand dunes. Its going for the theme of heavy duty, all terrain, fun, friends, and all ads get that across superbly. The one discussed above is obviously supposed to be the least serious of the trio, but I always found it to be the most entertaining.

Let’s talk a little more about this particular truck. The 2016 Tacoma was released in the fall of 2015. It has 159 to 278 horsepower, a mid-sized bed, a V6 or 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, a four-person seating capacity, and its real wheel drive. Some modifications had been made to the 2016 model from the 2015 model.

“The 2016 Toyota Tacoma is designed with the same frame as its predecessor, but it has some added high-strength steel for better rigidity. The body is made up of an even higher-grade steel that to both stronger and lighter than before. The interior on the other hand has received a massive makeover. It now has a touchscreen display for entertainment, navigation and smartphone integration functions. It even has a GoPro camera mount on the windshield for documenting your adventures. It also an available wireless phone charging pad that has been added to a few other Toyota vehicles.” (Expert)

The overall design of the truck hadn’t really been changed all that much, the grille and the rear end where changed, it was given new headlights, and the steering wheel was redesigned a litte bit. It was mostly just given a large technological upgrade, which was appreciated. This commercial could be enjoyed by one and all, young and old, in fact I was but a small child when I saw this and still found it entertaining. However, I feel like the advertisement was aimed a little more at younger, male consumers. Aside from the fact that a truck is thought of as a manly vehicle.

“The final reason trucks make you more manly is…well, they just do. There’s something about trucks that are an American icon of hard work, freedom to explore and get lost in the wilderness, and tough durability. They sound loud, look huge, and are strong and powerful. How much more manly can you get?” (Bart)

The instrumentals for ride of the Valkyries was replaced by male vocals, unnecessary explosions are thrown in, Think the late teens to early 30s age group.

Let’s analyze the elements of the ad a little closer this time. The opening scene of the commercial with the Tacoma and two dirt bikes set the tome of the ad. It simply says “adventure”. If the viewer wasn’t paying attention, the explosion 4 seconds later does a damn good job of drawing the viewer back in. Then Ride of the Valkyries starts up in the background. As a side note, Ride of the Valkyries was a piece from Richard Wagner. This peice had been used in several action movies prior to this advertisement. It has an off to battle vibe to it. So when it starts to play in the background of the ad, it gives a tone and feel of grandeur and epicness to the whole scene. The explosions afterwards are just for dramatic effect.

“First rule of Hollywood: “Anything can explode”. Let’s face it, everything’s better with explosions. Television scripts are short. Shortcuts are taken.” (Tropes)

With the viewer now (hopefully) immersed, five more dirt bikes and three more trucks are added to the fray. The more the merrier as they say. Not entirely what the purpose of the guy on the couch was, but it was entertaining none the less. Words come to mind such as “fun”, “adventure”, “party”, and “exploration”. Once again, the ad says nothing about the vehicle itself, but that clearly wasn’t the point of the advertisement. It was to draw in the viewer, draw interest. Obviously, the Tacoma already existed before hand, so nothing really needed to be introduced, but this commercial both metaphorically (and literally) says, “Hey, we’ve got a new one”. This isn’t for knowledge, persuasion, or to inform. This commercial was purely to entertain. Say what you will about Toyota, but they now how to catch your eye.


Annotated Bibliography


  1. Freymann, Jeffrey. “The Many Faces of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries.” Classical KDFC, KDFC, 14 Jan. 2017, 12:00am,

This was the song used in the background of the ad in question. I figured a little background information on it would be…informative to the reader. Still a bit of a tossup on whether I’m going to include it or not, but if I do it’s going to be a short mention. As for the authenticity of the information, KDFC is a public radio station in San Francisco that plays high quality classical music in an effort to incorporate it into people’s lives. It is also owned by the University of California and is home to the San Francisco Symphony.


  1. Guide, Buyer’s. “2016 Toyota Tacoma Reviews and Rating.” Motor Trend, Motor Trend, 21 June 2018,

Part of the buyers guide on Motor Trend. Gives the trucks specifications, that being it mileage, horsepower, length, width, weight, and market price. Also gives the collective thoughts of the positives and the negatives of the vehicle and which one outweighs the other. A very useful “Before you buy” guide. Motor trend has been around for years, giving all sorts of information on basically any car you can think of. It also gives short cuts to the latest car articles, racing events, and advertisements. Very reliable.


3.Bart, Kyle. “5 Reasons Why Trucks Make You More Manly.” The Aspiring Gentleman, Aspiring Gentleman, 27 Aug. 2018,

This article is exactly what you would expect, given the title. It goes into detail with 5 reasons why trucks make you manlier. Gives multiple examples of situations where having a truck is extremely useful and convenient. This will most likely be used to describe the “Trucks are manly” part of this analysis. While most of his statements aren’t exactly groundbreaking, he does put most of the positive and cool aspects of having a truck all in one article. And Kyle Bart himself is a publisher and entrepreneur who has traveled the world dozens of times, all while writing about men’s lifestyle topics, like wine tastings and adventure travel.


4.“Stuff Blowing Up” TV Tropes, TV Tropes, 15 May      2013,

Ever heard the saying “everything is better with explosions”? That’s what this ad was going for. This site page goes over the tv trope called “stuff blowing up” which is pretty self-explanatory all on its own. But this page has some entertaining quotes in it, and as the ad itself has multiple explosions in it, it would be good to include this.


  1. Expert, Product. “2016 Toyota Tacoma Release Date.” Serra Toyota, Toyota, 19 Mar. 2015, 9:00pm,

Aside from the obvious clue from the title, this blogpost also gives information on the changes that Toyota made from their previous Tacoma to their new Tacoma. Very useful for the readers who don’t know all that much about cars.