Get Ready to Boogie-Oogie-Oogie-Oogie With the 2001 Toyota Prius

While it was introduced in Japan in late 1997, the Toyota Prius made it to our shores for the 2001 model year. At that time, most Americans thought of cars with even partial electric powertrains as unfit-for-the-real-world novelties, but here was a hybrid-electric machine that ran on dinosaur juice, never needed to be plugged in, and drove like a real car. Toyota USA’s marketing wizards seemed confused about how to market the original Prius, and so this odd magazine advertisement came out in 2000 to prepare us for the radical new machine that would appear in showrooms soon.

Though Toyota was honest in boasting about the Prius being the first mass-produced hybrid-electric car in the world, Honda’s smaller (but even more efficient) Insight appeared in the North American market as a 2000 model and thus established a brief lead as the biggest-selling hybrid on our roads.

Pretty quickly, US-market Prius advertising settled into the green-yet-functional themes we know today, but there seemed to be some flailing for effective ad ideas during the 2000-2003 period (for example, this puzzling factory-issue EAT MY VOLTAGE sticker that I found in a discarded 2003 Prius Sedan, and which now lives on the turntable in my garage). The “boogie-oogie-oogie-oogie” text appears to refer to the 1989 Marcia Griffiths hit that popularized the Electric Slide dance— get it, Electric Slide?— though that song’s chorus clearly includes the words “boogie-woogie-woogie” with a W.

The fine print of this magazine ad gives lyrical credit to Don Julian, who recorded a credibly funky song entitled “Electric Slide” around 1990 (we must assume 1990 was the year, because of the reference to the Humpty Dance). That song features neither a woogie nor an oogie, but does it matter? The 2001 Prius turned out to work just fine and sales proved strong.




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