Slogans and Symbols Don’t Make Great Automobiles
Norman Taylor & Associates
March 10, 2011
The symbol for Michelin tires is a fat man made of fluffy tires stacked one on the other. What is the connection between this symbol and Michelin tires? The connection has been lost through the years. The symbol for the Ford Mustang is the wild horse and this makes more sense until you’ve taken it to the dealership a dozen times, then a basket of lemons might be a better symbol.
Since 1987, Norman Taylor & Associates has dealt with thousands of defective vehicles. In the California Lemon Law it is all about the defects. As consumers we want the best. We want to believe the slogans. But when our engine blows and we experience the terror of trying to reach the side of the freeway without becoming a hood ornament on a semi, our last thought isn’t, “I’m not worried; It’s built Ford tough“, or “I’ll be fine, my truck is like a rock.” Tell that to the guy who has made ten trips to the dealership to get his truck repaired. Meaningless slogans! It may be built tough, but it sure isn’t tougher than 20,000 pounds of semi-trailer.
It’s a matter of honesty and maybe a little reality. At Norman Taylor & Associates we have a slogan; it says, “We wrote the book on Lemon Law!” We did! Two of them! Advertising is the business of changing minds, of planting a phrase or image in our heads.
One of Honda’s slogans is, “The power of dreams.” What does that mean? Who’s dreams? One of Toyota’s slogans is, “I love what you do for me- Toyota!” At Toyota, it’s all about ME. We are pretty sure that the family in the fatal vehicle crash in San Diego did not love what Toyota did for them. Unfortunately in most cases, as a consumer you must be prepared to be ground into the dirt if you have a persistently defective lemon car. Manufacturing arrogance is not pretty.
We are not against advertising, but what about the concept of truth in advertising? Forget perception! You can’t drive perception to work every day! People with lemon cars don’t really want to spend their valuable time at the dealership. Nor do they want to be forced to retain a California Lemon Law attorney for help. Remember, when you don’t measure up to your image, when your symbols and slogans are Madison Avenue nonsense, and you cars and trucks turn out to be lemons, they will definitely be remembered. Lemon cars are like first kisses, you never forget them, even though you wish you could. So a word of advice to you folks in the automobile manufacturing business, please, just a little less smoke and mirrors.