Perhaps it’s a concrete indication of happier times, but UK television screens are suddenly full of car advertising.
And the ads don’t just surround traditional automobile staples such as football or shaving that trigger male responses either. They wrap around a plethora of products that appeal equally to women too.
But as well as the more traditional car advertising extolling the virtues of such and such a brand, news comes of a different sort of advertising campaign that is also a sign of the times.
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) is about to roll out a new campaign across several media channels – albeit one with a difference.
Given its monumental problems recently involving several million recalled vehicles, TME has decided to go on the offensive – but this push comes with a human touch.
In a back-to-basics approach, Toyota is to use its main asset – its staff – to lead its advertising push and to restore much-needed confidence.
“This is part of our recovery plan to regain customers’ trust and to develop our sales and reputation in Europe,” a TME spokesman told just-auto from Brussels.
“Clearly instead of a traditional campaign we have found a new angle which is based on testimonials [of] real-life employees, who show their commitment to quality and safety.”
Quite what those employees will say has not yet been revealed. But it just might work.
If TME shows its staff on the shop floor, explaining the nuts and bolts of actually putting a car together – surely something almost nobody thinks about as they drive to work? – it could be the start of restoring confidence that has taken such a global battering these past few months.
You never know, such an honest approach might catch on. We’ve just had the British prime minister Gordon Brown face up to the cameras only hours after being heard to mutter a less-than-complimentary remark about one of his own staunch Labour party supporters.
It remains to be seen whether or not his “penitent sinner” observation about himself will be enough to deliver enough votes in the UK’s imminent election, but fronting up was possibly the only way out of a pretty big hole.
Toyota’s use of its personnel will humanise a situation that had threatened to be engulfed in an avalanche of negative media.
And the fact it is to use a dedicated channel to talk to its staff is also indicative that the recent crisis also impacted Toyota’s staff too. They need reassuring as much as consumers.