The Swagger Wagon: Steal This Idea

The Cool Idea: Toyota’s Swagger Wagon video.

Who Likes It: Proven Winners’ Marshall Dirks

What He Likes About It: The similarities of our industry and the car industry were striking. Our advertising tends to focus on the features of the products and the awards won. Same with cars – the engine size, MPG, how many cup holders and JD Powers awards won. Our ads show an ideal garden, as the car companies show their cars performing in the mountains on a beautiful, wet, winding pavement – when most people don’t drive there, nor do they have beautiful gardens. Additionally, both industries are very conservative and slow to change.

The Green Industry Take Away: Toyota did a great job understanding the thought process and barriers to owning a minivan. It’s no longer cool – they are 20 years old now. They all have sliding doors. Remember when they were like a van with just three doors? Ford and others were dropping out of the minivan market. SUVs became the new cool vehicle. It’s not a smart vehicle, or eco-friendly, yet millions want to buy them.

They recognized the female customer’s desire to be heard and understood. She works hard, and being a full-time mom and wife is time consuming. The commercial validated her role and thus understood her intrinsic desire to be accepted and still drive something cool – a “swagger-wagon.” She no longer has to be embarrassed when she picks up the kids or that she stays home. Her vehicle defines her as hip and cool. Doesn’t every mom want that?
The challenge we’ve taken at Proven Winners is doing more to make gardening cool and relevant.

We certainly do not have this figured out, but we are trying to address some areas, such as using social media and to take risks like Toyota when many seek to cut costs and decrease value.

Value is hard to define. It’s not always cost, but rather how the product makes the customer feel. It’s an old lesson, but one that can be implemented in any economy.

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