I recently saw for the first time this new television ad for Toyota's ubiquitous Prius: 

My first reaction was that the ad was really well done. My second reaction, however, was "Wait a minute, didn't the Prius conquer this audience long ago? Is this speaking to the early adopter?" In other words, does this ad help Toyota sell more Priuses?

I did some digging and found an intriguing fact: When it comes to buying hybrids, image is everything. Quite simply, consumers will value a hybrid that has no gasoline alternative (like the Prius) MORE than one, like the Honda Civic, that comes in hybrid and gasoline models. Why? The Prius conveys an image. We like how it looks when we drive a hybrid. So much so that a pure hybrid retains more value longer than does an "impure" hybrid (one with a gasoline model option). 

So, why is Toyota pushing the multi-generational, green lifestyle image in the Rain spot? To sell more Priuses, Toyota needs to flesh out the story we as consumers can tell ourselves about why buying green is advantageous--even if it's not easy. 

 

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