Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not a “December to Remember” for Toyota (Jarvis Cromwell)

We admire many things about Toyota here in the Reputation Garage. The current Lexus “December to Remember” advertising campaign is not among them.

One spot – watch it below – is trying to be clever.  But it’s so far off the mark for the tenor of the times that it comes off as tasteless and insensitive.  It should be pulled.

In it a woman, pictured as her childhood self, gleefully remembers the Christmas where she got a real pony, and how jealous the little girl next door was. Savoring this moment of childhood triumph, she goes on to say that nothing could be more…perfect (cut to the woman now grown admiring her new Lexus complete with bow in driveway.


The December to Remember campaign is its ninth year and Lexus noted in 2007 that it “is as anticipated as the traditional Clydesdales or polar bear campaigns.”

That was then.  Here are a few comments we found on Twitter and other communities across the net in about 60 seconds: 

“This commercial has gotten me truly angry…

"Saw loathsome Lexus 'December to Remember' spot of the season. What does it take to kill them?”

“Re: Lexus 'December to Remember' spot. How to kill them? Garlic-encrusted stakes have failed. Maybe this economy will do it.”

“Toyota ought to be chastised for these commercials.”

 “I would love to give a new Christmas owner of  a "December to Remember" car a shot to the nose.”

Trendwatcher Faith Popcorn sees a movement of anti-over-consumerism taking hold among consumers. "It's a convenient time for this. We can't afford it, so we might as well hate it.”

Indeed, we found no positive comments about Toyota’s campaign in our brief web search.  Maybe there is something good to be said about this spot.  We just couldn't find it.

Our advise for Toyota whose sales fell more than 25% last month: Take heed of Paul Allen’s recent advise in his post on the performance economy HERE.  This is not an environment for mistakes. Now more than ever you must make the consumer feel smart, protected, safe, heard, and connected.  Your customers may buy from you.  Do they feel good about it?  

And recall Paul’s worst-case scenario… what if your customers just don’t like you?  We can’t imagine that any incremental sales from this commercial could possibly be worth it in the long run.  You can do better than this, Toyota.

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