Toyota finds a Muppet connection for Super Bowl ad

A new Muppets movie, called “Muppets Most Wanted,” hits theaters on March 21.

UPDATED: 1/22/14 9:55 am ET - adds photo gallery, review

LOS ANGELES -- Toyota is teaming up with Disney to promote the launch of its redesigned Highlander mid-sized crossover, starting with a 60-second Super Bowl spot featuring the Muppets.

The game-day commercial, called "Joyride," will feature the Highlander, driven by former NFL player-turned-actor Terry Crews, and a gang of characters from the Muppets. That spot will be followed by two additional Muppets-themed commercials for the Highlander's launch campaign that are slated to run through the summer, a Toyota spokeswoman said.

A new Muppets movie, called "Muppets Most Wanted," hits theaters on March 21. Toyota also released a teaser video for the Super Bowl ad Tuesday.

"We all grew up with Kermit and the Muppets, and that makes Toyota's collaboration with Disney very special for us," Jack Hollis, vice president of Toyota Division marketing at Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said in a statement. "The two brands focus on delighting guests, and this allows us to take them along on a fun ride."

The redesigned 2014 Highlander, which competes in a segment that includes the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, went on sale at U.S. dealerships this month.

The Super Bowl's advertising roster again looks to be jammed with automakers hoping to make a splash in front of the more than 100 million viewers expected to tune in for the game. In addition to Toyota, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Audi, Ford, Volkswagen and Jaguar have all confirmed that they will advertise during the game.

Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News, has reported that Super Bowl broadcaster Fox is collecting about $4 million for every 30-second commercial slot during the game.

You can reach Ryan Beene at autonews@crain.com

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