Answer Man

Of Canine and Cookies

Tom Park, Angie Stevens and Mr. Toyota can make dozens of commercials in a day.


Q: Who’s the dog on the Toyota of Orlando commercials?

A: The English Bull Terrier answers to the stage name of “Mr. Toyota,’’ and he resides locally, although his real name and the location of his doghouse are secret. Ah, the trappings of stardom. Mr. Toyota has been doing the commercials with Tom Park and Angie Stevens (no, they’re not a couple) for more than a decade. 

So you figure that Mr. T probably does a couple of dozen commercials a year, right? Wrong—try more than 600. In fact, during the holidays, Park, Stevens and the canine filmed 88 commercials in one day, says Leslie Adams, marketing director for Toyota of Orlando. Not that Mr. Toyota is complaining—he just has to sit on the hood of numerous vehicles at the dealership as directors film spots lasting anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds. “You let him down and he kind of runs to the next car like, ‘Okay, I’m ready,’’’ Adams says.

Mr. T gets treats between shoots. A particular personal favorite of his, it seems, is Park himself. “He especially likes Tom and will occasionally look over at him and then lick his ear,’’ Adams says.

Sometimes there’s excitement when a stray cat runs by, but Mr. T generally keeps everything under control and seems happy with his starring role. . . and his interchangeable gender role: Mr. Toyota is actually a she.

Q: How many boxes of Girl Scout Cookies are sold in the Orlando area each year?

A: Although Answer Man can easily consume a sleeve of Thin Mints for dessert, he was still stunned to find that the members of the Girl Scouts of Citrus—whose organization covers a six-county area including Orange and Seminole—sold a whopping 1,498,896 boxes last year. Fifteen-year-old Danielle Neeld of Orlando sold 4,000 of those, a local record. Trivia break: The most popular cookies, both nationally and locally, are Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties, in that order.

The big 3 sellers in order of popularity (counterclockwise from top left): Thin Mints, Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties

Certainly the sales are important moneywise—they account for 77 percent of the local group’s annual budget. But, stresses Girl Scouts of Citrus spokeswoman Zandra Washington, the annual effort also helps teach the girls five important principles: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. 

Hmm, perhaps the Girl Scouts should be infiltrating the halls of Congress. But then who would be left to take our orders for Peanut Butter Sandwich or Shortbread cookies? Speaking of which, if you didn’t get around to placing your order, fear not—the Girl Scouts will begin selling their cookies from booths in front of local stores around the second week in February.

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