Is your brand passing the “Yeah Right” test?

Posted in: Brand Reputation, Creative, Inbound Marketing, Storytelling

On: March 13, 2015

The Toyota Camry is many good things.

It is a safe, reliable and relatively affordable family car. It’s solid transportation. Toyota has sold millions of them.

But the Camry is not bold. Not even close.

No car crazy teenager has a Camry poster on his wall, dreaming that one day he too can possess such a rad ride and be the envy of all his friends. It’s a family sedan with four doors. The design is eminently familiar and totally forgettable. In your mind, it’s always beige.


Toyota is a successful global company that produces a lot of good cars and trucks. They’ve done enormous amounts of market research about their vehicles. In all that research, I can’t imagine a single person telling them they bought a Camry because it was “bold.”

Yet here they are with a major ad campaign touting the boldness of the Camry.


This campaign is a great example of advertising that doesn’t pass the “yeah right” test. Think about it. When you hear a hopelessly silly advertising claim, like a bold Camry, you are likely to utter a little snort and say “yeah right.”

That happens when a claim is so unbelievable, it actually evokes scorn. Claiming a Camry is bold just reminds a potential customer how profoundly “unbold” it is. Boldness is not why people buy a Camry.

If you have to tell someone you are bold, you are probably not. Sure, a brand can inject a bit aspiration in an attempt to frame how the audience interprets its product. But the gap between the desired positioning and the reality must not be so large as to make your audience snort.

Keep it real.

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