Toyota Is Fretting about Becoming Honda

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by: Dick Stroud

In the UK, Honda has the reputation for being an oldies car – guess what car I drive!

It sounds like Toyota is worried that it might be heading in the same direction, according to this article in Newsweek that suggests the carmaker is desperately seeking Gen-Xers. Having just read the horrendous financial results from US car manufacturers I would have thought they would be happy with anybody with a checkbook and a positive account balance!

Toyota has retired Sly and the Family Stone from its ads for the Camry and replaced them with a modified version of Right Said Fred’s "I’m Too Sexy" – nothing like thinking outside the box! The company has also established a youth-marketing staff made up entirely of people in the prized 24-to-35 age group. In the UK these would be considered geriatric marketers. All of this is intended to lower the average age of Toyota buyers by a decade, to 35.

The article suggests that Levi and Nike are also struggling to attract a younger audience and shake off an outdated image because:” It’s a hard sell for boomer brands to persuade today’s kids to drive the cars and walk in the same shoes that Mom and Dad did.”- "The days of boomers setting pop-culture trends are over," says the editor of Trends Journal. "Boomers are over the hill." Madison Avenue is now training its sights on the boomers’ babies.

Maybe I have been missing something but this is re-writing of history. The reality is that advertising land has been obsessed with the Boomer’s kids and grandchildren for ages – to the exclusion of their parents. Still it made a good story.

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