As he meanders from the grocery store across the parking lot with bag in tow, a typical guy clad in jeans and Chucks glances up as he looks for his car. A sleek, shiny black form lurks under the dim lighting as pyrotechnics begin to explode all around. A glimpse of a powerful panther and heavy metal rock videos have our fellow drooling over the very thought of driving what is now in his line of sight. What has him weak in the knees? A Challenger? A Camaro? A Vette? Hardly. Try… a minivan.
That’s right. Honda is repositioning its Odyssey to be “vanlier” than ever before. In an attempt to shed its soccer mom image and appeal to male Generation Y-ers, Honda has cast a rock-n-roll, cool-guy net over what was previously thought of as sacred female territory.
What’s the thinking behind the shift? In an interview with Auto News, Honda’s Senior Manager of National Advertising, Tom Peyton, explains. “Everybody who looks at research about Gen Y knows it’s still first and foremost about them. And even as they get kids and a family, having the world revolve around them is still more important than past generations.”
Dads have long sneered at the mention of buying a minivan. It was a necessary evil, but certainly not something any man would choose to spend his hard-earned money on. You bought minivans because the wife needed them for the kids, not because they were cool and you actually wanted to drive them. And God forbid your car should need repairs and you were forced to show up for work or – worse yet – the gym behind the wheel of the family mobile.
So how, exactly, do you overcome such a stigma?
Retargeting Your Audience Means Rephrasing Your Copy
Certainly, if you retarget the market segment you’re approaching, you’ll have to completely rewrite the copy for your website, TV ads, magazine layouts and other media. For this group, Honda was gunning for Generation Y men which required showing that their individual needs would be met first and foremost through cool styling and features. Instead of focusing on the typical storage space, safety features and built-in ways to keep the kids occupied, Honda turned to the things Generation Y men look for when they shop for vehicles for themselves.
What would be on their wish lists? If a 30-year old man were to redesign a minivan, what would he include? The answer is what Honda is now marketing as the new and improved Odyssey.
In the past, copy for minivans of all types revolved around the needs of the family with a special emphasis on the kids. Take, for instance, the Chrysler Town & Country website. The headline lets you quickly know they are still approaching women who are the primary caregivers of the family. It reads:
Intuitive Safety & Technology for What Matters Most
Its recent TV commercial uses similar copy. Starting with a little boy running home chased by schoolmates, the kid leaps into the back of the minivan (driven by his mother) as the voiceover describes all the safety features this vehicle offers.
Toyota has also moved more toward the Generation Y family by using copy in commercials that depicts (tongue in cheek) mom and dad turning the focus of everything on them. While these ads do mention styling and do include shots of a man complimenting and even driving the minivan, they don’t follow the hard-line approach of Honda’s latest efforts.
The times, they are a changing. As copywriters, marketing managers and/or website owners, we have to stay alert to the new segments that can be approached and how best to communicate with them. The more specific you get and the more in tune with your audience you are, the better your copy will perform.
Want to learn the secrets of effectively targeting your audience with powerful copy that speaks to their direct needs? Get Karon’s self-paced, home-study Step by Step Copywriting Course today at http://www.CopywritingCourse.com.
By Karon Thackston © 2010, All Rights Reserved