Toyota ad to irk TV viewers for another month

NEW YORK — Any car shoppers left in this brutal market are sure to cheer Toyota's decision to extend zero-percent financing for another month. But another decision might have them hitting the mute button: The automaker will keep airing a television ad for the deal that has sparked some serious ire among TV viewers.

Facebook groups, bloggers and other TV watchers have risen up against the Japanese automaker's ad, with its giant floating red zero in the middle of the screen, with gleeful rage.

"It's pretty much unanimous that everyone I've talked with thinks it's very annoying," said Colin Anderson, a 19-year-old freshman at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He created the Facebook group "Stop Playing Toyota's 'Saved by Zero' Commercial."

Anderson said the ad alone, with a jingle taken from a 1983 song by The Fixx, isn't what irritates him — it's the way it dominates the commercial breaks during Monday Night Football and other sporting events.

Peter Schrager of Esquire magazine's football blog recently wrote that the ad "has penetrated the nation's consciousness in a way political candidates only dream of."

The zero-percent financing incentive was set to expire this week, but Toyota said Monday it would extend the deal for another month after the company's October U.S. sales fell 23 percent from a year earlier.

The ads will continue airing nationally through Sunday, Toyota marketing spokesman Joe Tetherow said. After that, dealers will have the option to continue airing the ads on a local level.