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‘Trash talk’ ads threaten industry’s credibility, Honda exec says

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‘Trash talk’ ads threaten industry’s credibility, Honda exec says

Mark Rechtin

Automotive News -- May 28, 2010 - 2:31 pm ET

LOS ANGELES -- The nastiness that has pervaded political advertising is threatening to infect the world of car advertising, Honda’s top advertising executive warned.

“It doesn’t build brands. It tears down others,” said Steven Center, American Honda Motor Co.’s vice president of advertising and public relations. “Anyone can beat anyone with the careful deployment of statistics of their own choosing.”

Speaking at the Automotive News Marketing Seminar here on Thursday, Center said Honda and other leading automakers have become the target of rivals’ ads that no longer focus on the advertised product or brand. Instead, it has become a race to the bottom in terms of “concocted messages ... and excruciatingly parsed data.”

Honda has tried to take the high road, Center said, by avoiding “trash talk,” respecting the intelligence of the buyer and by speaking honestly about the brand. Center pointed to earlier years of car advertising of a similar vein, such as the legendary Ford “Better Idea” and Mercury “Diamond Cutter” campaigns.

“We need to protect the credibility of our voice with customers, or else we’re wasting a few billion dollars a year,” Center said. “We can do better than this.”

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100528/RETAIL03/100529833/1018#ixzz0pG2xJciz

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siegen    20

Honda... pft, all they know how to make is lawn mowers. That's what that football guy in the Chevy ad told me anyway.

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Well Honda doesn't need companies trash talking the Crosstour. Their own campaigns do it themselves. campaigns do it themselves.

Awesome...

And Siegen...I had a buddy who raced riding lawn mowers, believe it or not...Rodney's could hit sixty miles an hour...just think of an Acura NSX as a 180 MPH lawn mower...

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Intrepidation    848

That's not really fair to the NSX. It was built during a time when Honda focused on engineering first and it made pretty good looking cars.

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GXT    11

What's this guy whining about?

I think he is 'whining' about GM's ads where they directly compare their vehicles to a Honda/Toyota/etc. product and then GM picks one area where they are "better". Ford is guilty of this too.

It really is lowest-common denominator advertising. Perhaps it works on the brand loyalists ("See, I knew my GM was better!"), but it has to be near ineffectual (or perhaps even detrimental) for conquest wins of real "import buyers".

Here is what I think when GM does one of these ads (e.g. their "better highway fuel efficiency ad"):

1) What about city? So I research and I find that it is because the GM's in the ads usually get worse EPA city fuel economy than the vehicles to which they are being compared. Well right there the competitors are already superior in my mind as I drive almost 100% in the city.

2) Then I look at some comparison by the major sites and I see that some of GM's newest vehicles with the highest highway fuel economy seem to be known for failing to live up to the ratings, often doing worse than the cars that GM claims they better in the ads.

3) Then I think about how poorly GM must fair in other areas if this was what they believed to be their biggest advantage.

Really, when you know that GM's have worse depreciation, reliability, safety, and (yes) fuel efficiency, what good is taking a shot at Honda for making lawn mowers? It is sad. Whining indeed.

Hopefully this trend dies as fast as the campaign to have an Accord in the GM showrooms to compare to the Malibu.

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Agreed with DF, and the Crosstour IS quite lame!

What's this guy whining about?

Hahahahaha... sound slike someone has sand in their MANGINA.

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That's not really fair to the NSX. It was built during a time when Honda focused on engineering first and it made pretty good looking cars.

I was meaning this in a positive sort of way, and trying to make humor of the situation...I guess my funny tone doesn't work any better than my sarcasm tone...no wonder I get in so many fights with my teenage kids...hmmmm

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Intrepidation    848

I was meaning this in a positive sort of way, and trying to make humor of the situation...I guess my funny tone doesn't work any better than my sarcasm tone...no wonder I get in so many fights with my teenage kids...hmmmm

I gotcha. Tones can be difficult to decipher on the internets. :P

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Blake Noble    147

WAHHHHHHHH! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! [*inhale*] WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHWHAHAHHHAHAHAWHWAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! [*sob, sob*]

Mmmmm ... your tears are delicious ...

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regfootball    252

the reason the ads do this is because this is how consumers are shopping in hotly contested segments.

line items of features and attributes. this attitude was created by the car mags and their comparison tests.

if a camry sucks, you should be allowed to point that out.

the consumers are keeping a score card. this advertising just helps them keep score.

what is not good, is that this keeps consumers from trying all the cars and deciding for themselves. But shoppers don't want to waste time sampling 10 cars and listening to 10 salespeople.

It really would be nice if consumers could go to one spot, pay a fee to drive all day and as many cars as they want, pick the ones they are interested in without talking to a 'sales' person. Just a product knowledge person.

Such is the way of retail distribution. They want the marketing and distribution channels to exclude and narrow down for you as many of your choices as possible so when you get to the decision point they can be your exclusive offer.

Honda is mad because the accord has been tanking in comparos and press, and its about time. the current accord is ugly, and is not top of class. it has a cold, cheap interior. It's warranty and pricing are not as good as some other options. Other competitors all have advantages over the accord.

So what does Honda do? They go and introduce an ugly sister to the ugly accord. The cross tour is effing hideous but it sells by cannibalizing accord sedan sales. they should have called the crosstour the crossdress.

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Drew Dowdell    5,169

I think he is 'whining' about GM's ads where they directly compare their vehicles to a Honda/Toyota/etc. product and then GM picks one area where they are "better". Ford is guilty of this too.

Let's see.... In the Pilot v. Traverse ad, the tout the Traverse's better highway mileage (city rating is the same), more cargo room, bigger 3rd row, and more power. ... yup, just one statistic there..

In the Lawnmower ad: they are comparing gas mileage, only the Cobalt has lower city mileage, the rest have equal city mileage and all have better highway mileage. After that they show that Chevy has better warranty than Honda.... so yeah, one statistic there too...

The rest of your whining against GM is actually just a rehash of what any smart shopper should do (except for the automatic slant against GM part) when comparing vehicles to see which one best suits their needs..... because, when you think about it... what does a Corolla really do better than get good gas mileage? If that's all Toyota can claim for it, they must have skimped somewhere else right? (at least that's the though process you're demonstrating). In the battle of the milktoast economy sedans... is there much point to touting anything other than mileage?

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