TalentZoo.com |  Beyond Madison Avenue |  Flack Me |  Digital Pivot Archives  |  Categories
A Focus On Fuel
By: Alexander Villeneuve
Bookmark and Share Subscribe to the Beneath the Brand RSS Feed Share
Earlier this week, I was watching television and I happened to notice a striking similarity in three different automobile advertisements. The ads were for full or mid-sized luxury cars and each one was touting fuel efficiency as a unique selling proposition.

This Buick LaCrosse commercial with Shaquille O'Neal was one of them. Although my memory has failed me, I'm fairly certain one was a Mercedes-Benz commercial.  

However, the individual car brands are not as important as the focus automobile manufacturers are putting on fuel economy again as fuel prices steadily rise. 

But will car buyers buy what they're selling? There are a couple of problems with their strategies.

First of all, using fuel efficiency as a unique selling point is decidedly less effective when everyone does it. It was three different car companies in the span of one night that tried to sell me on the fact that their car was going to save me money at the pump, but with everyone using the same selling point, the brands get confused and I only end up remembering one of the ads.

Interestingly, I can recall that a Toyota Prius is fuel-efficient car. The reason for this is that the only point Prius always drives home in their ads is that the car is fuel efficient; not stylish, fast, luxurious, or even safe. They own MPG, and everything Prius does tries to improve our associations with "Prius" and "saves on fuel." A Prius is only a small car; there isn't a Prius compact, a Prius midsized, and a Prius SUV. Thus, it makes sense to the customer that a Prius will get good fuel economy.      

Another reason these other brands are getting lost in the noise is because they're trying to communicate too much. The car is luxurious and it's fuel efficient. The idea that a big, power-packed luxury car gets good fuel economy contradicts what most people believe to be true. It's not by mistake that Toyota hasn't made a truly stylish Prius. Interestingly, by not being stylish and luxurious, the association we make with the Prius and its fuel economy is amplified. 

It's the same scenario as diet soda versus regular soda: the ideas contradict in our minds and therefore the product isn't consumed because it has low calories and great taste, which explains why most people only drink one variety exclusively.          

By not differentiating with one singular pitch, your brand risks rendering the entire message useless, because it will wind up lost in the clutter or greeted with disbelief.

Bookmark and Share Subscribe to the Beneath the Brand RSS Feed Share
blog comments powered by Disqus
About the Author

Alexander Villeneuve loves to hear from readers. It makes him feel important, so please contact him on Twitter or his blog.

Beneath the Brand on

Advertise on Beneath the Brand
Return to Top