Monday, March 1, 2010

Would you drive a Swagger-Waggon?

Do you trust car dealers?  Does the Pope smoke dope? I can only think of a handfull of people I know that actually enjoy the car buying process. Let's talk automotive today. I do think that local car dealers have been the unsung victims of the last year.   Local dealerships have had their franchises pulled with little to no notice and in many cases have been unable to adequately or profitably liquidate their inventory before being forced to close their doors. 

And now there's the Toyota Recall debacle.  Opinions vary as to the actual cause, severity, and sequence of misjudgements that lead to the largest automotive recall in history.  But once again, I think its the local dealers who share in victimization with actual Toyota owners.  Toyota Motor Manufacturing built a shoddy product, and now its the dealers on the front lines who have to cope with customer concerns, complaints, repairs, and inevitably wavering sales.  

But that's not my beef with Toyota today.  What I really want to know is who promised Toyota that they could reverse decades worth of culture with a YouTube campaign.  For years, the MiniVan has a symbol of one's ultimate concession to their role in suburbia as a soccer dad, grocery-getter, or grandparent.   After I saw a commercial for the Toyota Sienna I wondered if they weren't trying to divert our attention from the safety concerns of American's most popular vehicles with a shiny new marketing campaign?

I give you the "Swagger Wagon."
 [ I think Toyota's corporate marketing channel prevents you from embedding the actual video here, but go ahead and click away.]

We've got 2 parents who talk as if they're in the movie "Best of Show" and essentially get Dutch-Ovened in their new Sienna by their stinky, diaper-clad kids.  Maybe this happens in real life? Any parents out there who can verify this Slice-of-Life creative strategy?     Not sure if that makes me want to sign up for a test drive.  

Bottom line:  I appreciate viral marketing, sarcasm and thinking outside the box.  But I'm still not going to buy a minivan. 

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