As Donald Gunn taught us in 1978, one of the master formats of advertising is “associated user imagery”. This kind of ad “showcases a type of people it hopes you’ll associate with the product”, in order to transfer the qualities of the people to the product you are trying to sell. In fact, I think this is the format Renault Koreos’ advertisers used to create the following TV ad I just saw last night. The only difference is that here instead of people they’ve got cars.
For the first 47 seconds, this 60-second video promotes the new French SUV in Italy using vintage footage about old Renault models, soundtracked by the irresistible “I’m free” by Rolling Stones, and then finally switches to the brand-new gas-guzzling beast rescuing the old sisters from muddy troubles, concluding with a reassuring voice saying: “4×4 outside, Renault inside”.
I’ve had three cars in my life,and two of them were Renaults. Watching the first 47 seconds I was carried away by all that technicolor galore. But when I saw the 4×4 entering the scene, I jumped on my sofa in disbelief. Even if every single second of the ad was trying to convince me, and was doing it well, then that Renault just didn’t fit it in the picture. Do you remember that classic IQ test question asking: “In this set, which object does not belong?”, that’s how that SUV popped up to my eyes.
In Italy, SUV sales have increased fourfold in a decade, but this growth is parallel to also two other things: the awareness that this type of car is not suited for the European city and that a low-gas/low-emission economy is fast becoming a stark reality.
Releasing a SUV now (emitting 230 g/km CO2 when the limit for 2015
is going to be 125) for the first time in 2008, when even GM is is closing four SUV plants, doesnt fit in the values the Renault brand has long being associated with: vision, innovation, casualness, and daring.
Investigating about the concept of this car I found this old post
describing the Koleos prototype with these words:
The new concept car also offers prompt response and driving pleasure, with a hybrid power unit that combines a two-litre 16-valve turbocharged petrol engine with an
So what happened to the hybrid SUV? I have yet to find an answer.
I think that never like today paying attention to your brand values and your audience (and reality) attracts more money than a good ad. And looking at this 1973 Renault 4 (190g/km) retromercial had me dwelling on another question: what in the world we need SUVs for?