The Dakar Rally is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Dakar 2019 consists of 12 days of 4x4 driving through the desert and highlands of Peru.

Toyota South Africa’s Dakar 2019 campaign aims to showcase the power and toughness of the bakkie, while rallying support for South Africa’s '#TEAMHILUX'.

Toyota South Africa’s Hilux brand and advertising manager, Lensha Dlamini, says, "The Toyota Hilux has been the market leader in South Africa for the most part of 50 years and is respected for its legendary toughness. Part of claiming that it’s the ‘tougher-est’ of the tough is to prove it, which it does each year at the Dakar Rally."

"Then, there’s the added benefit that the legendary toughness stands true for each and every Toyota, not just a Toyota Hilux. Toyota won’t let you down. Completing the Dakar Rally is the ultimate way to show that," adds Dlamini.

FCB Joburg creative director Tian van den Heever adds, "For the 2018 Toyota Hilux Dakar campaign, FCB Joburg built a '#TEAMHILUX' brotherhood. Instead of a secret handshake, it capitalised on a move all Dakar Rally fans immediately recognised – the '#TEAMHILUX' nod."

"Every time a rally driver and his navigator traverse an obstacle – such as a dune, an anthill or a ‘donga’ – they respond physically. First, there’s the widening of the eyes. Then, their heads tilt back before they wobble around uncontrollably as they land. We claimed this as the '#TEAMHILUX' nod in our 2018 ad as a mechanism to include all Toyota Hilux drivers in '#TEAMHILUX'," says van den Heever.

"The '#TEAMHILUX' nod was quickly adopted by many South Africans and used as a mark of acknowledgement from one to the other. In fact, Lensha recalls a scenario in which three border control guards gave her the '#TEAMHILUX' nod as she crossed the border between South Africa and Swaziland in her Toyota Hilux," adds van den Heever.

"We decided to capitalise on the adoption of the nod for Dakar 2019, but brought in a much-loved family to help us up the appeal. They’re no stranger to South Africa’s and the world’s screens and are desert icons themselves. They are … a family of meerkats," van den Heever says.

The ad went live online on Monday, 17 December 2018 and launched on national television on Wednesday, 26 December 2018. It was shot on the sand dunes close to Mitchells Plain over two days. Post-production was done by Orchestra Blue, with animation by Sinister Studios.

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