On Leadfoot Prius Drivers

Twice in the last week I’ve had an encounter with the Toyota Prius brand which left me uttering a slack-jawed "Huh?"

Encounter No. 1:  While tooting along down the highway at just over the speed limit in my own car, some dude in a Prius blows by me doing about 95 mph.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Encounter No. 2:  Trundling along through rush hour urban traffic, a person in a Prius in a BIG hurry tailgates me for one long minute, then finally whips out against oncoming traffic in a desperate attempt to get somewhere on time.

Now, the percentage of impatient leadfoots driving a Prius is probably quite low, but they’re a good reminder that, for all the time and money you spend crafting the story behind your offering, your customers are going to write at least a few additional chapters in the book of your brand.  And those are the pages that matter to the world.  Know-nothing yuppies turned BMW from a driver’s car into a social-climber’s bauble.  Porsches used to be driven by people with quick wrists (the better to catch that oversteer!), but now the story is about SUV’s for suburban wrists with, ahem, extra padding.

Who is going to write those chapters for your brand? 

9 thoughts on “On Leadfoot Prius Drivers

  1. … good observation.
    good question.
    does it matter? yes and no…:)
    these brands had been so much used by the wrong people… that at some point they became the *cool* – i think it actually is: *metacool* – choice of the day.

  2. Many brands intentionally limit who uses their products. Paul Smith doesn’t make clothes for overweight people. The iPod’s ‘hidden’ controls are too hard to use for some. Hip clubs in the city screen you based on looks.
    I doubt Toyota would go that route, but Ferrari — who is sold out for the next few years — could.

  3. On the flip side, who knew the Prius could muster the power the blow by anything other than a bicycle?
    note: I drove one of the first editions and while it was a bit slow off the line, it seem to be like any average small-mid sedan at freeway speeds.

  4. I’d have to agree with/tangent off Victor: perhaps a better question is not who will, but who YOU will let/target/expect to shape your brand’s ‘street cred’.

  5. LOL, victor… “excluded by design” – that sounds like a winning strategy – i love it.
    the hold-switch on the mini-ipod. yeap – that’s it. always makes me wonder of whom they thought when they constructed this thing. 15year-olds with long fingernails?
    – but… it does not matter. it is just a product – and this little inconvenience adds to its profile, to its charm. i like it. especially this anti-ergonomic button.
    it is about attitude.
    just like with the hip clubs – they show attitude and they reward attitude (not looks).
    thinking of the ipod i think of my grand-uncle who has got these enourmous hands, that he has to use his own cutlery in restaurants. – but, hey, that is cool.
    his sister – my grandmother – a lover of concerts and opera – always had to decide whether to attend the performance before or after the break (first part or second part) because she could not sit throughout the whole evening – at least that is how she saw it. her cousin – living in some smallish italian town close to venice – when she gets up – at around noon – she steps on the balcony, takes her binoculars and scans the fronts of the shops on the opposite site of the river. the shopkeepers put coloured paper into the windows to signalize the arrival of her merchandize. a ritual that has beem untouched by technology for over half a century.
    and if my grand-uncle would decide to fall in love with the ipod, he would superglue some piece of metal to the stupid hold button.
    and this – by no means would be uncool. it would be very, very metacool.

  6. ps:
    “man over matter”
    sometimes we need these imperfect little things to conquer them, to beat them, to rise.. to remind us and everybody else that it is: “man over matter” – and not the other way around.

  7. sorry, i have to come back…
    and karl lagerfeld? the karl, the “grand dame” of haute couture…?
    – this is completely the opposite now – and exactly the same…
    when he lost his 40 or something kilos, and being asked by the press, why he did this, he said: oh my dear, not for fitness or some esoterical reasons.. we are too old for stuff like that. no, i want to wear the best suits that are made on this earth – and they are made by hedi slimane. and his silhouette is just very, very slim (infact slimane challenged karl a little bit by making the cut even slimmer in the following season, and – naturally – the karl kept pace).
    “man over matter” – just the other way around.
    it is just products.
    and sometimes they can do magic. slimane’s stuff definitely can.

  8. Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid Car

    Buy a hybrid, save money on gas, and get a $2,000 deduction on your 2005 taxes. Okay this is only for some hybrid models. Go all electric for a $4,000 deduction.

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