It purports to be a worn-out VHS copy of a vintage (c. 1983) TV commercial for Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear, aka Lotso, the most important new character in Toy Story 3. The idea is to (sneakily) convince viewers that Lotso was an actual toy from decades ago, like Chatter Telephone and Animal Lovin' Ken who appear in the movie.
The video is so well made and realistic that it convinced me of being authentic for a few brief moments. "I didn't know Lotso was an actual toy before Toy Story 3?" I tweeted. But upon further thought, a number of things make clear that the commercial is, in fact, a brilliant viral video for 'TS3'.
First of all, nobody's ever mentioned before that Lotso was based on a real, classic toy. Secondly, no reference to The Huggin' Company alluded to in the commercial can be found anywhere on the web.
But the crucial piece of evidence comes in the form of a tweet. The Lotso video was posted by a new YouTube user named MrCrazycommercials. Another one of this user's videos was linked to by director Lee Unkrich on Twitter on April 16, a full three days before the Lotso commercial was uploaded. That's way too big a coincidence. Is MrCrazycommercials actually Mr. Lee Unkrich?
If you're wondering, Disney Consumer Products is rolling out in June a real-life strawberry-scented Lotso plush bear as part of the deluxe Toy Story Collection. There's also a basic Lotso that's already started arriving at Disney Store retail outlets and is shipping from the Disney Store website.
Update: Another "vintage" Lotso commercial, this time in Japanese, hit YouTube this afternoon. Watch it below. The video's release appears to coincide with an international press event being held in Japan this week to promote Toy Story 3.
(Updated Apr. 26)