Orchids and Onions – Toyota pushes right ‘hipster’ buttons

And stop lying to your customers, FNB. If you don’t, you’ll keep getting Onions from me. And maybe I’ll join my wife at Nedbank …

If you play the word association game with Toyota, you get “quality”, “durable”, “reliable”, “tough”. And the Japanese brand’s vehicles are all of those things.

So, it should be easy to market them, not so? Well, yes and no.

The Hilux bakkies almost sell themselves because they have a fanatical following. Ditto cars like the Corolla Quest, which is so beloved of Uber operators because, well, it never breaks, it’s cheap to run and it’s got a big boot.

But none of those attributes apply if you’re trying to flog a car to an “edgy”, “urban” “Hipster”. Dare we utter the overworked cliché “Millennial”?

They want cool, but they want something they can love, that they can obsess about. And that’s exactly where Toyota and its longtime agency, FCB Joburg, are pitching the latest advert for the new Corolla Hatchback.

The first thing they got right was the colour: the dramatic red sets of the angular lines of the car (especially from the front). Next, they insert a funky “influencer” (ugh, I say the I word) as driver and passenger. Not too far out there to freak anyone out, but just enough to say: Hey! We’re cool. We’re successful.

But then comes the twist, as the “real” owner of the Corolla bolts upright in his bed, screaming in terror.

“Someone’s driving my Corolla again!” he tells his clear-suffering better half as she almost roll her eyes. He ignores her and rushes outside to see if his pride and joy is still there. And it is.

The punchline aptly sums up his behaviour: Drive your obsession.

In this competitive car market, obsession will move metal and if you can convince potential customers they will get obsessed about new Corolla Hatchback, you’re halfway there. Like all good advertising, the spot showcases the look of the car and its attractive interior (this is no 80s basic Corolla, that’s for sure).

Another Orchid for Toyota and FCB Joburg.

A while ago, I gave an Onion to FNB for its blatantly misleading, if not actually untrue, marketing of the change to its ATM operating system. At the time, the blurb included the nonsense that “we listened to you” and that the way the ATMs operate had been changed to give back the card before producing the money … the opposite of what happened before.

I pointed out then that no one had asked me my opinion and, I’ll wager, few other FNB customers were polled on the subject either. The latest communication from FNB about ATMs is again a classic piece of marketing misdirection.

We (FNB clients) have been informed that, out of concern for our “safety”, the bank has decided to limit transactions which can be done from ATMs to R25 000 a day. Now, I can understand why that would apply to cash withdrawals, because customers getting cash from ATMs can be vulnerable.

However, that does not apply to transfers done from the ATM.

This is because, in order for a customer to carry out a transfer to another person from an ATM, the beneficiary’s account details have to be loaded on to the system first … at an FNB branch. So, someone can’t force you to transfer money to them from an ATM. So transfers are NOT a safety risk.

A clue to the real intent of the bank comes later in the spiel: please rather use mobile or internet banking. In other words, this is yet another one of our sly moves to get you on to our more profitable digital banking system.

Stop lying to your customers, FNB. If you don’t, you’ll keep getting Onions from me. And maybe I’ll join my wife at Nedbank …

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