Joe Isuzu

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Joe Isuzu
David Leisure Joe Isuzu Resized.jpg
Portrayed byDavid Leisure
In-universe information
OccupationSpokesperson of Isuzu

Joe Isuzu is a fictional spokesman who starred in a series of 1980s television advertisements for Isuzu cars and trucks. Created by the ad agency Della Femina, Travisano, and Partners, and directed by Hollywood director Graham Baker,[1] the segments aired on American television in 1986-90, reaching their zenith in 1987 after the character was featured during Super Bowl XXI. Played by actor David Leisure,[2] Joe Isuzu was a pathological liar who made outrageous and overinflated claims about Isuzu's cars, with one commercial even casting him as the Boy Who Cried Wolf. The campaign was resurrected briefly in 1999 and continued until 2001 to promote several cars such as the Isuzu Axiom. A decade after Isuzu exited the U.S. market, Leisure reprised the role in a 2018 commercial for Johnny5ive, an Isuzu Trooper repairman.[3]

Joe Isuzu may have had a "twin sister" Joanne (actor David Leisure dressed in a dress, pantyhose, wig, and high heels) who appeared in a 1988 advertisement because she "loved her new Isuzu Trooper II."

Famous quotes include these:

  • "You have my word on it."
  • "If I'm lying, may lightning hit my mother." ("Good luck, Mom!" appears on screen.)
  • "It has more seats than the Astrodome!"
  • "Hi, I'm Joe Isuzu and I used my new Isuzu pickup truck to carry a 2,000-pound cheeseburger."
  • "The Isuzu Impulse: faster than a speeding—[catches a bullet in his teeth]—well, you know."
  • "I swear on my mother's grave the quality of this Isuzu!" cell phone rings "Hello? Oh, hi Mom!"
  • "Isuzu Trooper II, can hold the whole state of Texas!" (78.2 cubic feet of it, stated on the bottom of the screen)


The character became a fixture in American popular culture. In 1988, Michael Dukakis, in a debate with George H. W. Bush during that year's United States presidential election, said, "If Bush keeps it up, he's going to be the Joe Isuzu of American politics."[4]

Leisure reprised his role as Joe Isuzu in a 1992 A&W Cream Soda commercial. True to form, Isuzu made outrageous claims about the soda.

In 2012, Daily Finance (a subsidiary of AOL) named David Leisure #15 of Top 25 Celebrity Spokespeople of All Time for having portrayed Joe Isuzu in Isuzu advertisements.[5]


  1. ^ D'Angelo, Carr (December 1988). "Pride & Prejudice (Director Graham Baker)". Starlog (137). New York. pp. 65–72. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "David Leisure - Other works". IMDb. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "An Icy Duke Edges Out Bush in a Taut Debate". October 3, 1988. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "Top 25 Celebrity Spokespeople of All Time". Daily Finance. AOL. January 22, 2012. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2015.