The Colonie Teams with Burrell for Toyota Highlander’s New Multi-Platform Campaign

Burrell’s new multi-platform social media and broadcast campaign for Toyota centers around the fun-loving fictional Powell Family, and ‘slice of life’ moments that inspire spontaneous family adventures enjoyed in the comfort of their 2018 Toyota Highlander. The team at The Colonie was tasked with creating an array of engaging deliverables for a variety of platforms that included cinemagraphs, GIFs, and square video optimized for Facebook, as well as traditional 16:9.

The Chicago-based editorial and postproduction company’s editors Bob Ackerman and Graham Chapman along with Director of Social Media, Jimmy Helm, worked as a team on the large integrated package.

Helm focused on the optimizations for Facebook and presented the agency with a variety of creative options that effectively featured the brand message, from Carousels and Canvases to Instagram stories and more.

“Social media is changing all the time, so having the opportunity to spearhead creative that takes advantage of the latest and greatest advertising platforms is truly exciting,” says Helm, “Talking about ideas is great, but it’s always fun to show rather than tell. That’s why we went beyond the boards and presented a spectrum of social media options that are more than simple lifts from the spots. We took full advantage of all of Facebook’s advertising platforms to create content that is innovative, fresh and immersive.

The campaign was co-edited by Ackerman and Chapman in The Colonie’s Avid Media
Composer suites. Each editor tackled one of the main :30s,’Inspiration’ and ‘Heroes,’ which is also airing as a broadcast digital spot. Chapman took the lead on the :15, ‘Falling’ and the two :06s, ‘Jump In’ and ‘Dull Moments.’

‘Heroes’ opens with the young son running through the Powell family’s house donning a makeshift cape, pretending to be a superhero. The parents’ eyes meet as his play-acting sparks the same idea, and the action cuts to the family in their Toyota Highlander, with ‘The Hero’ theme song playing on its JBL Premium Audio System as they hit the road.

The SUV comes to a stop at a festive event where like-minded superhero enthusiasts in full-costume have gathered. As the Powells exit their Highlander to join in, we see that they’re all dressed in elaborate superhero garb. The spot closes with the tagline, ‘Toyota Highlander – Let’s Go Places.’


The same young son jumping around in a horse mask is the genesis for a second :30,
‘Inspiration.’ Seeing their son at play is all it takes for the mom and dad to load their kids in their Highlander and take off on another excursion. This time the destination is a stable in the bucolic countryside where, to the brother and sister’s delight, they get their first riding lesson. The spot ends with the tagline, ‘“From Inspiration to Destination. There’s More to Discover in the 2018 Highlander.”

The :15 spot “Falling” finds our family having fun at an indoor skydiving facility. Later
the kids are in the back seat sharing a laugh as they view the video of their dad while charging their devices on the USB ports in the rear of the Highlander’s center console.

“This package was particularly fun to work on because the actors and actresses had such great chemistry and energy. It was really a joy to put together.” says Chapman. “When I’m given footage with good performances like these I can dig in and focus on what makes a story the most authentic.”

“Graham has a great ability to hone in on the essence of a visual story,” says Ackerman. “And his passion doesn’t end with editing. He’s also a gifted photographer whose work has generated tens of thousands of Instagram followers. Graham’s keen eye and aesthetic sensibility have made him a sought-after influencer for brands, such as the Mexico Board of Tourism, as well as some of Chicago’s top ad agencies.”

Chapman, Ackerman, and Helm collaborated closely with Burrell’s creative team on the package, which was directed by Phil Brown out of Spears & Arrows, LA.

“Teaming up with Burrell on this job was a rewarding experience,” says Ackerman. “It was great to once again work with Carlo Treviso, the agency’s senior digital producer. Carlo brings his strong filmmaking background to every job.”

“ACD Derrick Harmon and VPCD Corey Seaton consistently came into the editing suite with insightful ideas that elevated the visual stories,” adds Chapman. “It’s always helpful when the agency has strong opinions, and the editing process becomes a team sport.”

“Bob, Graham, and Jimmy are not only natural story tellers, but they always find ways to plus up the creative and bring new ways of looking at the edit and flow of the overall narrative. Above all they are awesome human beings. If ever there was a team to work with in the creative trenches, it’s the team at The Colonie,” say Treviso.

“This campaign was a great fit with our team’s skill-sets. It tapped The Colonie’s extensive experience crafting deliverables for broadcast, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms,” says the company’s Executive Producer, Mary Caddy. “Over the years, we’ve become a go-to resource for a growing number of web-based campaigns that rely on our team to edit, finish and turn around a large volume of deliverables for multiple social media outlets on challenging schedules, and provide smart, effective creative solutions that optimize a brand’s message across numerous platforms.”

About The Colonie:
The Colonie is an award-winning Chicago-based creative editorial, motion design, visual FX and finishing postproduction house with a seamless full-service approach to creating broadcast and digital content that engages, entertains, informs and moves audiences.

National and global clients, such as McDonald’s, Payless, BCBS, Facebook, Anheuser-Busch, Nintendo, Levis, PepsiCo, Walmart and Bayer are among the brands that call upon the company’s collaborative team of talent to deliver compelling visual stories that elevate the viewer’s experience and connects them to their brands across multiple platforms.
For more information visit, or contact executive producer, Mary Caddy at 312-225-1234, or Sonia Reps,, 312-519-0911.

Product: 2018 Toyota Highlander
Type: Multi-Platform Campaign (Broadcast Digital & Social Media)
Campaign: ‘Toyota Highlander Presents More to Discover’
Titles: ‘‘Heroes’ :30, :15, ‘Inspiration ‘:30, :15, ‘Falling’ :15, ‘Jump In’ :06 and ‘Zero Dull Moments’ :06

AGENCY: Burrell Communications / Chicago
CCO: Lewis Williams
Senior Digital Producer: Carlo Treviso
VPCD/Copywriter: Corey Seaton
ACD/Art Director: Derrick Harmon
Business Manager: Robin Bisel

Director: Phil Brown
Producer: Marc Longberg

EDITORIAL COMPANY: The Colonie / Chicago
Director of Social Media: Jimmy Helm
Junior Editor: Graham Chapman
Creative Editor: Bob Ackerman
Finishing: Tom Dernulc
Executive Producer: Mary Caddy

AUDIO/SOUND COMPANY: Noise Floor / Chicago
Mixer: Cory Coken
Sound Designer: Cory Coken

Colorist: Michael Matusek


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