Screencap from the 'People Person' spot for the 2012 Toyota Prius family

Screencap from the 'People Person' spot for the 2012 Toyota Prius family

To make its new ad for the 2012 Toyota Prius family, Toyota tapped some of the same talent that made its previous "Harmony" campaign a success. But as intriguing as the behind-the-scenes footage may be, we're not entirely sold on the new "People Person" clip.

You might recall that when Toyota rolled out the now-famous "Harmony" spot for the 2010 Prius, it caused a minor sensation. While many automakers -- including Toyota -- had been content to stick with car-on-road footage and the occasional flourish of CGI in their ads, "Harmony" was an intriguing mix of live action and computer animation. Backed by an acoustic version of "Let Your Love Flow", it was adequately hippy-dippy to speak to the green qualities of the Prius, while simultaneously highlighting some of the tech-forward features found on the 2010 model.

Now, Toyota -- and its ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi -- have returned with a new campaign for the 2012 Prius family, and the similarities abound. As before, the commercial's environment is made up of individual actors, only this time, the "environment" is a 15-foot-tall man. So, one person acts as the nose, another as the lips, and so on.

The actors' Momix-style acrobatics are merged with some small-scale models and a dash of computer animation to create the illusion of a man going about his daily routine, stepping outside, and discovering to his utter surprise that his Toyota Prius has split into four. Alas, this spells the end of Mr. People Person: the actors quickly begin separating from one another and head off toward their preferred version of the 2012 Prius while the big guy disintegrates, leaving only his shoes behind. 

Not surprisingly, the creative mind behind the "People Person" spot is Mr. Hide from The Sweet Shop, the same man who created "Harmony". Is "People Person" as good? Maybe, maybe not.

On the upside, the background music ("Got to Be Free" by The Kinks) is a definite improvement. And you have to admit, it's clearly a visually arresting piece.

On the downside, to some of us, the image of one man made of different actors who eventually head off in different directions reads like a metaphor for multiple-personality disorder. And at a minimum, that guy is plain creepy to look at. 

If you haven't seen the clip, we've embedded it below. And keep scrolling to see a "making of" video, with behind-the-scenes footage of the actors doing their thing for poor Mr. People Person.