Tag Archives: environment

Toyota’s New Prius Harmony Animation – a Joy Ride (Brand Champ) or a Ho-Hum (Brand Chump)?

The reaction to Honda’s animation, featured in last week’s Brand Champ or Chump, was overwhelmingly positive. The vast majority felt Honda hit the sweet spot with an inspirational piece that connected to consumers’ demands for greater environmental accountability.

So, the verdict from last week: Brand Champ.

This week, I want to know how you feel about Toyota’s new animation, which seems a fitting follow up to last week’s spotlight on Honda.

I leaned toward Brand Champ for Honda, and I’m taking the same position this week for Toyota. This time, I’m leaning strongly toward Champ.

This spot is a 30 second commercial promoting the third-generation Prius. Set to a familiar happy-go-lucky and eco-friendly tune, we see a Prius moving through a clean and beautiful environment.

But this environment is… well… unusual. The landscape is made up entirely of people. That is, the sun, clouds, flowers and blades of grass are depicted as people.

The point: Toyota’s third-generation Prius strikes a balance between the needs of man and nature. You can get everything you want in a car – extra power, more space and fuel efficiency… and the best part is you also make a difference by driving a car with fewer smog-forming emissions. So, a simple message: We get more of what we want in a car, but less of what we don’t want.

For me, this piece was eye-stopping to the point that I really wanted to see it again. The animation has a unique feel to it. Like some of Toyota’s earlier Harmony spots, this one feels organic and artistic… though much more uplifting. The flow of the piece suggests progress and change—for the better. I immediately connected with the message.

Toyota has its hands full with Honda. The latter is launching the competitive Insight hybrid and seems poised to take share away from Toyota, which has seen Prius sales drop quite sharply. This piece, as part of a larger campaign, may just help Toyota defend some of its ground.

Overall, I think this piece is a winner. I felt like I was on a joy ride. Do you agree? Or was it ho-hum for you? Watch it for yourself (see below) and let me know what you think we have here:

  1. A brand champ?
  2. A brand chump?
  3. Somewhere in between?

If the video does not appear below, please see the animation here.

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Honda’s Doer Film: Brand Champ or Chump?

This week in Brand Champ or Chump, I turn the spotlight to Honda’s Doer film, a two minute ten second animation highlighting the company’s environmental commitment.

This piece goes beyond what Honda’s doing and speaks to the company’s view that everyone can help reduce impact on the environment. Honda says good things come from “doers,” people who do “things to move us forward, to make stuff better.”

As part of this, Honda offers tips on how drivers can make simple, small changes to their behavior to make a difference to the world around them.

So, is this campaign a brand champ, chump or somewhere in between?

I don’t feel right going with champ or chump. To me, the piece wasn’t mind blowing or awe inspiring. I have to go with somewhere in between, leaning to champ.

I like the simplicity of the little red car and the use of toys in the animation (the artistic quality is fantastic).

But mostly, I like how Honda takes what can be a big and complicated message and makes it easy to grasp. Certainly this piece does a good job speaking to Honda’s green credentials and reinforces to consumers that the environment is one of the company’s brand pillars.

Honda’s reputation has largely been built upon quality and good fuel economy. Toyota, mostly because of its Prius, has nurtured, by far, the strongest image for environmental friendliness. However, thanks to work like the Doer, Honda is closing the gap.

Not awe inspiring, but very good. 

Watch it for yourself and let me know what you think? Is Honda’s Doer film:

  1. A brand champ?
  2. A brand chump?
  3. Somewhere in between?

If the video does not appear below, please see the animation here.

Be sure to explain the reasoning behind your choice. And yes, you can cheat like me and say whether you’re leaning champ or chump.

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When Brand Packaging Goes to Nature

I bought some baby spinach the other day. When it came time to dispose of the plastic-like packaging, I happened to see this text on the back of the lid:

“This package is made from 100% all natural corn, grown by farmers here in the U.S., and utilizes significantly less fossil fuel and resources.”



Underneath the text was a logo of a company familiar to me because of exposure I’ve had to the packaging industry in my work life. The company is NatureWorks. Their technology makes possible the production of plastics and fibers from plants.

I flipped the lid back over to the front. Only then did I become aware that I hadn’t just bought baby spinach, I’d bought the Private Selection brand from Kroger.

Call it a brand moment of truth… whatever… but all of the sudden Private Selection stood out in my mind. The next time I’m looking for baby spinach, I’ll probably look for Private Selection. Why? Well, I like the idea of greener packaging. And seeing the environmentally-conscious message hit me the right way. It’s that simple.

Of course, it’s not that simple. After digging further, I see NatureWorks’ resins are derived from sugarcane and cornstarch, which are important sources of food. Some say that by harvesting crops to make packaging, environmentally-conscious companies are taking away capacity for food production and causing food prices to rise in developing countries.

Clearly, I need to delve deeper into the bio-plastics debate. I want to make the right choices, after all.

And so do many consumers, who continue to demand more responsible products and packaging. Brand marketers have seized the day on this… and focused more attention on environmentally-friendly packaging as an opportunity to differentiate and grab a greater market share.

But how many truly care? And what about you? Do you care about environmentally-friendly packaging? Do you make deliberate brand choices based on the package’s environmental impact?