Blog: Dave Leggett'Bright greys'

Dave Leggett | 17 July 2008

Bright greys? Just come across a term that stuck while leafing through AM magazine. What does the Daihatsu brand say to you? An unfashionable marque that majors in dull but competitively priced small cars with Japanese kei-class roots (the Copen being a stylish exception to the dullards rule)? That's maybe a little harsh when you consider the recently introduced Materia model - a funky looking car that is turning a few heads.

But who is Daihatsu aiming its products at? Answer: bright greys and I'm not talking ETs. 'Bright greys' are the term used by Daihatsu UK chief Paul Tunnicliffe when talking about Daihatsu's relatively aged customer base. They are active and aspirational, he says. They shop at Waitrose (an upscale 'middle class' UK supermarket chain) and John Lewis (an also upscale department store) and holiday in Tuscany and France (not a caravan in Clacton). How does he know where they holiday? They write to him to explain where the trusty Sirion or Charade has been, apparently.

Tunnicliffe seems to know his customer though and stresses that for a niche brand like Daihatsu it's important to target the marketing and not try to be all things to all people.

Anyway, seems to be working for Daihatsu in Britain along with some innovative incentives for mom and pop dealers.

But I like that term, 'bright greys'. If you work in a car company perhaps consider throwing it in to a marketing discussion sometime. 'Look guys, what are we doing to appeal to bright greys?' And there's also this thought. Who appeals to the 'dull greys' and which demographic group, the brights or the dulls are ultimately the most numerous and/or profitable to sell to? I guess the brights are growing as people who remember punk rock and still wear luminous socks enter their fifties. Oldies lead pretty active lifestyles these days that belie their clocked up years. Just ask Mick Jagger or eternal teenager Richard Branson.  

Scary thought: am I, in fact, a bright grey myself? Certainly no spring chicken, but I would hope for bright rather than dull. I do like France for holidays - when I can afford it - and I do think the Daihatsu Materia is a car I like as a vehicular concept. I am mid-forties, so maybe that makes me a baby grey. I am certainly not short of grey hairs, that's for sure. I'll stop there.

Daihatsu's Materia - plenty of room in the back for the zimmer


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