TORONTO – Ontario, February 8, 2022 – The story of two Canadian Paralympian brothers will be recognized globally when Toyota returns to the Big Game with a 60-second ad. Toyota’s Big Game ad – “Brothers” – is an inspiring message of determination that spotlights the power of sport and features two real-life brothers: Brian McKeever (Global and Canadian Team Toyota Athlete and Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian) and Robin McKeever (Olympian, cross-country skiing / Paralympic guide and coach, Para Nordic Skiing).
“Brothers” takes viewers on a journey of the brothers’ lives, from their childhood home in Calgary, Alberta, where they develop a passion for cross-country skiing, to navigating the loss of Brian’s central vision at age 19 due to Stargardt Macular Degeneration. Despite living with the untreatable degenerative eye condition, Brian and his brother Robin continue to train together, which eventually leads Robin to compete at the Olympic Winter Games, and both brothers to compete at the Paralympic Winter Games with Robin serving as Brian’s guide.
“There’s such incredible emotional power when we can relate to stories that are close to home – and that’s especially the case with our Canadian athletes: Brian and Robin. These brothers not only captured our hearts through their years of Paralympic achievements, but their story is one of resilience, determination and incredible teamwork,” says Cyril Dimitris, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Toyota Canada. “It reminds us that our ability to overcome a little ‘impossible’ every day helps us achieve even our greatest dreams. We’re so honoured to highlight our amazing Team Toyota athletes in this ad, and we wish them all the best in their competitions.”
The 60-second spot begins with Robin teaching Brian how to ski at a young age. The brothers (portrayed by actors) are then shown admiring a cross-country skiing race on television, transitioning to adolescent Brian trying to keep up with Robin while bike riding down a neighbourhood hill. The camera then cuts to a close-up x-ray of Brian’s eye, depicting the moment he learned of his Stargardt diagnosis. The spot continues with Robin encouraging his brother forward, vocally guiding him, with snippets interwoven depicting the moments of their training sessions. The spot concludes with a scene of the actual McKeever brothers crossing the finish line and winning Paralympic gold with the uplifting message: “After Brian lost his eyesight, the McKeever brothers went on to win 10 Paralympic medals. Together.”
“I hope my story inspires viewers to start their impossible – whatever that might be,” said Brian McKeever. “I’ve learned firsthand that anything is possible with perseverance, and the support of a brother, like Robin.”
“Brothers” will air during the first commercial break of the Big Game on February 13, 2022 (on NBC in the U.S. and CTV Network in Canada). “Brothers” was created by Toyota’s agency of record, Saatchi & Saatchi, in partnership with Dentsu and directed by Seb Edwards.
In 2018, another Canadian Paralympian, Lauren Woolstencroft, was featured in a global Toyota ad called “Good Odds”, and it marked the first time an automotive brand did not feature a vehicle in a Big Game ad.
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About Toyota’s Paralympic and Olympic Partnerships
In 2015, Toyota became the official worldwide mobility partner of the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. Toyota believes that mobility goes far beyond cars. Their vision is to reduce barriers and build a more inclusive society, and this philosophy is the basis for the company’s transformation from a car company to a mobility company; when you are free to move, anything is possible. Toyota Canada also became the official mobility partner of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees in 2015, and the company’s commitment to sport and mobility extends to National Sports Organizations, including Canada Snowboard, Canada Soccer, Freestyle Canada, Wheelchair Basketball Canada and Canada Basketball. 15 Canadian athletes also represent Team Toyota.