Toyota and Honda to Market Hybrids More

Until now, Toyota and Honda have been fairly low key about their hybrids. That can partially be explained by the relatively tight supply (no need to advertise something if you can't make enough of it), but they probably also just wanted to wait until the technology was real-world tested on a decent scale before cranking it up a notch (nobody wants to make a mistake that will forever damage the reputation of a potentially lucrative technology). Sure, hybrids are reviewed in almost all car publications and sometimes in the mass media, but TVs and magazines are not flooded with hybrid ads the way they are flooded with legacy automobile ads. That could change, as Toyota and Honda announced that they will push their hybrid systems more starting this fall. They plan to promote their hybrid technology more than individual vehicles."The issue is no longer how to convince opinion leaders that hybrid is great technology," [Jim] Farley [vice-president of marketing at Toyota] says. "Our job is to focus on the mainstream consumers who still don't know hybrid's benefits." [...]

Toyota's hybrid marketing campaign will feature a new TV commercial that also will run in movie theaters. The campaign will include print ads and events such as test drives.

The advertising will emphasize that hybrids save consumers not only money but also time they otherwise would spend at gas stations, Farley says. The campaign will promote the environmental benefits of hybrid vehicles, he says.

"Customers are paying more attention to clean air," Farley says. "If American customers can be perceived by their neighbors as being smart, thoughtful and responsible, that's becoming the new luxury image now."
::Honda and Toyota to start pushing hybrids with new ad campaigns this fall