Humanism in the car industry

I like the consumer-centered approach in the car industry and I think it might go much further (environment is fine but there's also health, well-being, a wider understanding of social responsibility).
Cars are a mean... to get to a better living. That is: improve our self esteem, better relationships with our planet, our children, families and fellows and, of course, take us where we want to go)
Honda, Toyota, Kia... did a very good job communicating these concepts through advertising but... their websites don't seem to back them up

Considering their improvement in the hybrid sector I really don't get the point. Why they don't capitalize their achievements promoting a new driving culture and a new driver mindset in a more engaging way?

Something from the past: Kia. think before you drive.

And here a new commercial from Toyota

I'm looking forward to seeing a real commitment that goes beyond commercials and build on people performances instead of cars ones: you don't need to run faster and faster if you wake up 10 minutes earlier, and if you do... the driver behind you probably doesn't need super-powerful brakes or two thousands airbags.

As Saturn claims in this old commercial: I would like to see companies thinking more about the people and less about the cars.

The last word about Kia. I love the "Think before you drive" concept, and I would like it to go beyond "greeness" to (again) "humanism"

Move up your alarm by ten minutes and you can save thousands of pounds in engine, brakes and air bags.
Or, better:
If you sleep more you'll have a safetier journey, and we too.


Changing perceptions: Dine in vs. Dine out

Grocery chains have always fascinated me, and I really enjoyed working for one of the biggest that we have in Italy.

When I was studying in Austin, I remember H&B was organizing cooking shows to teach customers how to cook depending on their needs: time, price and calories. Every hour you could watch a chef preparing a different course.
They probably realized that the lack of cooking abilities was threatening sales: education was the answer.

Marks & Spencer is running it’s “dine in for two” campaign (here one of the commercials). It’s addressing the price issue (dine in for two at just 10 pounds). In credit-crunch times it seems an obviuos move (even if it seems that londoners, despite of the crisis, are eating more and more out, I read an article about this countertrend just two days ago)…
Anyway, I like the way M&S communicate it. It’s definitely appealing, stilish… very far from the cheesiness of many domestic lunches or dinner…
Will customers be able to cook and “feel” the way the commercial show them?

Here is, I think, an opportunity for M&S to push things further and work on the “dine in experience” (preparing food, cooking, preparing the table, the atmosphere…) they are doing a good job in repositioning the perception of dining in: please go ahead. Education plays an important role.

The challenge: change your customers into to chefs.

(I skimmed through their website and it seems there’s nothing like that…)

Insurances: love your customers

Some time ago I worked for a car insurance company.
They were targeting male/female drivers older than 23.
The reason is quite simple: young drivers cause more accidents.
Checking competition this seemed to be a common approach among car insurances: they earn more if people don't crash they cars.

Isn't it weird?
Our researches showed that usually people don't have a very good impression of insurance companies... "they steal your money... lot of notes in the contracts... you never know if they refund you or not..."

But, actually, insurance companies are worried about your driving capabilities and expertise...

There we saw an opportunity. What about a "2nd level driving school" providing real and effective courses and tests to its customers? It seemed a win-win game. The more they would have had good drivers, the more they might earn. And the less accidents its customers caused, the more money (and health) they saved.
An insurance company that takes care of you, teach you driving, and gives you all the information you need to drive safely. Why should they? Because they want to get rich. And they will only if you behave correctly.

"The less you risk your life, the more we earn: isn't it love?"

Anyway, I was nicely surprised by PruHealth.
In my opinion, they should think about a new advertising approach... but they have an interesting product.


Thinking about planning

Here is a summary (by Rory Sutherland) of the debate that was hosted by IPA in August...
some points:

  • It's more important to have good people than to obsess about what they do
  • There are many, many ways of solving a business problem… none of these is right or wrong… if you are turning human understanding into business advantage for your clients, you're doing a good job; if you're not, you're not.
  • "brand" should not be - as it seems to have become - the default starting point for all thinking - though it should patently direct the way the solution is implemented.
  • A better mix of people will hence have a better chance of arriving at an optimal solution.
  • A good scientist will acknowledge that more than 50% of scientific breakthroughs are reached through post-rationalised ideas, not through sequential logic.
I think the second point tells a basic truth that can be adopted for thinking about planning too.
It doesn't teach very much but it suggests that probably methodologies don't always work; sometimes they risk to dry up the creativity process.
At the same time I think good strategists don't allow their egos to stand in the way of the business goals.
1 and 100 persons, 1 and 100 minds, planners have to be good to reinvent themselves over and over again, depending on projects, clients and colleagues.
Planning has to be as creative as the creative department, but it's goal is not to come out with a strategy that works, but with a strategy that works, inspire and make people proud of the project. This is continuous adaptation and change.
Otherwise, as stated by, strategy may be confused with a piss inn the well.
(As one creative (Chris Wilkins?) remarked to a planner..... "You and I both drink from the same well of inspiration. The difference is that you get to piss in it first.")

Again, here is the entire Campaign article


Solero Smoothie

I like the fresh and creative language used to position "Solero Smoothie" as a light ice cream.
Attention to calories is not a serious, frustrating attitude, but a fresh and "easy" one. Not a renunciation, just a different, fresh, choice.

What money can't buy

I like th concept of "money can't buy".
It makes me think.

Commercial purposes might evocate the exclusivity of the experience... but actually what is really exclusive is our own way to perceive/interact with all is around us.
We all have our own "money can't buy" experiences/things... (sharing might be interesting).

Again, Oscar Wilde:
"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."