Have you seen the TV commercial where a guy picks up a stranded taxi driver and drives him to a service station? It seems like the kind act of a Good Samaritan, until the jerk driving the car decides to show off by taking an alternative route with numerous tight curves that allow him to bounce his poor passenger around in the back seat like a rag doll. The car owner’s snide smile and obnoxious behavior is essentially saying, “Hah, hah! I drive this really hot car and you’re just a poor schmo driving a broken down taxi!”
The ad’s intent is presumably to demonstrate how impressed the taxi driver is with the car’s handling, but instead it just leaves you feeling sorry for the guy–and hating the guy who just gave him the joyride.
But this commercial isn’t just obnoxious; it’s also ineffective, and in three ways. First, in the “action footage,” the car appears to be going about 20 mph, which hardly wows the viewer. Second, the car’s design is squat and boring, which is a bad fit for the “hot car” positioning this ad is inexplicably shooting for. And third, it does a lousy job of communicating the brand. (The manufacturer is Suburu, by the way, although I’m still not sure what the model is even though I’ve seen the commercial at least six times.)
Effective marketing communications call attention to the brand, make you feel good about that brand, and impress you with what the product can do for you. This commercial fails miserably on all three counts.
If Suburu really wants to be a Good Samaritan to consumers–and its shareholders–it should park this commercial in the garage.