today's AMAZING TV AD : honda's "cog" 2 minute tv spot

for more on this, go to this post :; april 14 post.
the inspiration is mount pinatubo when some years ago, all of a sudden, after decades of being dormant, it decided to erupt, spewing debris and ash several kilometers high, blowing ashes to float everywhere, far and wide, turning the skies gloomy gray as far away as metro manila, hundreds of kilometers away, covering metro manila streets and rooftops with thick ash. the pinatubo eruption was so powerful that its ashes changed the color of sunsets not only in the philippines but also worldwide.

that's what happens when clients and advertising agencies decide to run ads not worthy to be called advertising. its dark, its huge and very irritating and unfortunately, everywhere!

all they are doing is wawam! what a waste of advertising money!

here is a first row view of Philippine Advertising and Philippine Marketing.

mount pinatubo erupts shooting ashes several kilometers high, then floating to blanket many other towns hundreds of kilometers away

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

what inferior products can do to a brand

needed to go to a few car showrooms today to do some research. what i saw was shocking. it was a very eloquent statement of what inferior product can do to a brand.

toyota used to be the traditional brand leader in passenger cars in the philippines until some years ago, honda came to the philippines and promptly took market leadership with the civic, the accord and later on the CRV. while toyota was the over-all market leader because of their asian utility vehicle (tamaraw and the revo), honda was the dominant market leader in the passenger car segment. the reason was simple - honda cars had superior products. honda cars styling compared to toyota during that time was much better. toyota cars looked too drab and boring while honda cars had attitude and spunk. not only that, honda cars gained the reputation of a good ride and a hassle-free, no break down car. it's hard to tell which came first - was it honda's good looks (styling) that built its better in performance reputation or did the superior performance reputation shape its good styling reputation? you can easily see honda's dominance in the market with metro manila streets teeming with mostly new and still new honda cars in all colors and accessorized to the full.

i was in for a shock today when i went to both toyota and honda showrooms both on shaw blvd and one kilometer apart!

inside the honda showroom, there was a couple of sales people just sitting behind the counter doing nothing. the showroom was kinda dark, the decor was very sparse. and this was the most shocking part - i was the only customer inside the showroom! i used to own a honda and when i was bringing my car to honda for maintenance and repairs, there was never a time that a honda showroom is empty with customers! there were always people wanting to buy a honda.

the toyota showroom i went to was the exact opposite! the showroom was large, well lit, there were colorful balloons as decor and all the tables meant for customers to finalize their purchases were filled up with customers, plus there were a few more customers going around the showroom looking at the cars! it was even difficult to get a parking space in front of the showroom while the honda showroom's parking spaces were all empty of cars!

what the hell happened?

i have not read any recent consumer research on these brands, nor have i driven the latest toyota or honda. but i have a few guesses on what happened and what consumers think of these brands now.

look at the streets of metro manila and one will easily conclude toyota is now the market leader and a dominant market leader at that in probably all market segments with perhaps only one exception - the 10/12 seater van where hyundia is still the market leader. you see altis, yaris, avanza and the innova everywhere while you see a few new hondas and new CRVs.

i think what killed honda and what built toyota to dominant market leadership is simple - superior products and the widest range of products. that's very easy to see in their showrooms - toyota had 8 brands in their showroom while the honda showroom only had 3 on display. toyota has the camry, altis, vios, yaris, avanza, hilux, innova and the fortuner on display. honda only had the acccord, crv and the civic, one of each while toyota on some models had 2 on display.

sure, size of the showroom is a factor, but looking at the price list show the same problem as well. honda had 6 brands and a total of 23 variants on their price list while toyota had 13 brands with a wang bang number of 59 variants in their price list! in other words, toyota has a much wider choice of products that can cater to an equally wide range of needs and wants of car buyers, not to mention price ranges.

product range is not just the problem here but also quality. i had not driven any of these new cars but just by looking at the cars in their showrooms which is the same experience of most car buyers, its obvious to see the toyota cars are superior in quality and features.

take the accord versus the camry. both have about the same price but the camry has tons of features that are actually highly impressive, fascinating even than the accord. the camry has bluetooth for your bluetooth enabled gadgets to use! i don't exactly what that is for or it's advantage but who cares, it's impressive! you also dont need a key use to turn on the ignition of the camry! you just need to have the camry key "with you" which means inside your pocket while you are inside the car is fine, then push a button with your finger, not your key and the car will start its engine!

its already bad that honda cars' features are no match to the superior features of toyota cars, but the honda showroom suffer in being lazy in presenting their products in a better light.

the accord's seats were covered in plastic, shielding the leather to be touched and seen by the customer while the camry was in its full glory. upholstery is one of the more important features of a car and something most customers want to touch and look at when buying a car. this is even more important for leather seats! the feel of a car's leather seat is something you want to touch. the camry with its excellent upholstery invited customers to take a seat inside the car. on the other hand, why would you want to sit inside the accord that was covered with plastic?! the honda showroom may have prevented some wear and tear on their upholstery by not removing the plastic cover but they have also managed to turn off customers and prevented customers from giving the accord a fighting chance with the camry. i honestly don't remember how the camry's leather seat felt and look like.

and i think honda knows they have very much inferior products than toyota. i went to look at the civic. i found the upholstery impressive and better than toyota that i even asked the salesman if it was standard and he said it was. i was admiring the accessories and the salesman told me the accessories were not part of the price but additional cost. i was for a moment confused then i realized they did that to make the civic more attractive at first glance compared to toyota cars. they needed to add "jewelry" to their honda, some bling to make it look desirable.

but here is what drove me to "walk out" of the honda showroom - i looked at the new CRV and as any new car buyer does, you open every nook and cranny of the car, including the doors and the trunk. i asked the salesman how i can open the trunk and he told me i can't. i asked again - why can't i? he told me, the trunk opens electronically and since the CRV was not hooked into a battery, the trunk can't be opened. ok, that's it - time to walk out.

these are basic lessons in marketing and selling of cars. the very purpose of having a showroom is to "SHOW" your cars to potential car buyers. you want car buyers not only to look at them but also feel the car, and even allow them to sit inside to get a better fit. if you don't show your cars in a showroom, why bother having a showroom at all?

it's bad enough that toyota has a much larger line of cars for customers and obviously better products than honda, it's suicide for honda to also have a much inferior showroom.


1 comment:

  1. not the most convincing argument. The honda civic is still the top selling compact Sedan. I would argue over the quality and usefulness of the features between Toyota and Honda.

    I agree if it's true that Toyota did a better job marketing their product, but in the end, I'm not wasting thousands of dollars based on how well they pitched their vehicle. I'm buying solely based off what is important when buying a car. Build quality, performance, efficiency, safety, and lastly, and pretty much least, flashy features.


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