Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Quoted in Advertising Age, Dean Crutchfield of branding agency Method brought up an excellent point. He said regardless of how hard Toyota throws itself on its sword, there will always be a level of doubt in place that the company's dealerships will have to contend with. "Can you imagine those poor dealerships are now going to have to contend with questions about whether the issue is sorted out in this model or not every time they try to sell a car?" he said. "It's going to trail them for some time to come."
Yes, it will. The Audi situation was a very interesting one. I did a fair amount of work in the car industry back in the eighties and was told by very well informed sources there was nothing wrong with the cars. The whole thing was driver error, but it messed up Audi’s reputation big time, and those dealers had to hear all kinds of inane questions and wisecracks from well misinformed showroom customers for a long time.
Ah, the car business. Never gets dull.
I know I'm a bit late weighing in on this iPad thing, but I can’t believe Apple, as smart as they are, being the skillful marketers they have been all these years, have made such an obvious blunder with the name of the iPad. From a possible infringement with another manufacturer, to the whole fem hygiene association, it was really kind of a dumb move.
On the day it was launched I was watching CNBC in the office kitchen and trying to eat my lunch without getting seasick from there double market ticker crawl-thing. Im sure the TV folks have a cool name for that thing. I just call it nausea. Just before giving up for fear of getting sick all over my newly-repaired Italian loafers, anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera made a crack about the name reminding her of a feminine product. As annoying as she can be - well she's right. A real turnoff for the female consumer.
My sincere hope is that Apple isn't getting arrogant. One of the most appealing things about the Apple brand historically has been its "humanity." If consumers see arrogance creeping in, they will start to put them in the same category as Microsoft!
As Toyota’s U.S. boss Jim Lentz goes into damage control hyperdrive, the Toyota gas pedal calamity roils. This is a brand nightmare that gets bigger every day, and will not go away for a long, long, long time, no matter how many tactics Toyota uses to positively manage perception.
The difficulty for Toyota is magnified by the very nature of their brand. Devastating for them –like Honda, their buyer is typically someone who buys a car as an “appliance” to get from Point A to – oh, let’s say soccer practice, with optimal gas mileage. This isn’t exactly the "car enthusiast" crowd. Toyota is the Wal-Mart of the auto industry. Big. Lowest common denominator. Bent on world auto market domination. Want more panache? Step up to the Lexus ES series, which is really a gussied-up Camry.
So their buyer is someone who – and I’m not exaggerating here – will cross them off the list in a heartbeat because of this accelerator pedal recall.
GM they say was the first to jump on Toyota’s neck, offering some big financial incentives to Toyota owners to come in and try the Chevy products. Good move, I say. Because you know most of those former Toyota loyalists would be driving Hondas next week if not given the incentive to try the American products.