The latest advertisement from Smart car features a terrific visual that really caught my eye. The visual is a massive Ford Excursion parked on top of the tiny steel frame of a Smart car. They really nailed it; it's as good as any visual display in an advertisement. But is it enough to convince motorists of the safety of Smart car and its ability to withstand a serious automobile collision?
The idea that a car so small can also be a safe during an accident with a much larger vehicle defies consumer logic; popular perception and perhaps the laws of physics would suggest that a bigger car will hold up better if the two were ever to meet on the road.
Obviously, the strategy in this latest round of Smart car advertising is to attack their perceived weakness on safety. But is this a smart strategy by Smart car?
I cannot emphasize the great visual enough; it's truly flawless execution of an ad. But I wonder if its fundamental message is the correct one. It actually be might be impossible for Smart car to convince consumers on the safety of their autos at that size. While I've never driven a smart car, I can imagine the shrinking feeling I'd have when massive sport utility vehicles zipped by.
A smarter strategy would be to focus on the vehicles advantages. In 1962, Volkswagen and DDB perfected this strategy with an ad to match in their "Think Small" and "Lemon" ads. Smart car could also use its similar size to their advantage. It's a brand that pioneered and currently leads the burgeoning electric car category; high fuel economy, low emissions and surprisingly wallet friendly price tag are the obvious advantages of owning a Smart car.
Although I admire the execution of their latest ad and believe that it at least invites the notion for consumers to wonder about the safety of a Smart car. Yet, despite my meager C+ average in physics class in high school, I can still recall a formula that never fails. Force is equal to mass times acceleration. That's one place our eyes won't deceive us. Even with a sturdy steel frame, the Smart car won't win in a battle of the masses.
Therefore, despite such a the great ad, I wonder if its message is flawed on a higher strategic level, with the correct strategy being one that positions Smart car as the electric car category leader.