So in The Morning Shift today, there's a story about how automakers are reaching out to minorities (a trend story that pops up every year — seriously?) because it turns out if you add them all up, we spend a ton of money buying shit. Who knew?
As a minority, it's borderline insulting that automakers are overthinking this. I'm conscious of my status every day. Some things, I think, should be completely race-neutral. Buying a car should be one of them.
I applaud efforts from automakers for reaching out to minority organizations and sponsoring big concerts and festivals, but I still find it hard to believe that marketing still hasn't hit the mark this late in the game. The auto industry is more than a century old. And yet I still feel like we have a ways to go.
So how can automakers be even more embracing of the minority dollar? Here's how.
1. Tell me why I should buy this car. It's that simple.
2. Tell me why I shouldn't buy your competitors' car. It's that simple.
3. Tell me how much it costs. No, really — it's that simple.
4. Stop doing shit like this.
I hate this Raphael Saddiq/Toyota Prius commercial with every fiber of my being. It only airs on BET, TV One and Centric. I don't mind that it airs only there. I get targeted marketing.
What I don't get is how not once during this commercial is it explained that the Prius is a hybrid. It says up to 50 mpg. But how? The word "hybrid" isn't shown or said at all here. Another fail? That the Prius has a "family" now, but you only see the standard version. What, black customers aren't interested in the Prius V? I drove a Prius C for a weekend once. I thought it was so-so. But my mom, who's always loathed small cars, was impressed with the interior, the legroom and headroom up front (she's tall), and, most importantly, that I was running on a full tank having driven from Detroit to Ypsilanti and back again.
But no, there's a good chunk of this commercial dedicated to how the radio works. Because that's all us black folks care about is jammin' to our hip-hop tunes! Fuck this commercial. I'm never buying a Prius ever.
Or you could just look at the YouTube comments on this ad. Everybody wants to buy the Raphael Saddiq song. No one wants to buy the Prius.
Similarly, this John Legend ad mentioned in the Detroit News story today:
Once again, there's a heavy focus on the artist and the music, but I don't know jack shit about the car. Hey, automakers: Paying black people to dance and sing in commercials is not enough to get us to buy a car anymore. Again, tell me exactly why I should be spending my hard-earned money to buy this thing.
That's it. It's really not difficult. People need cars. People want to buy cars. You spend millions of dollars perfecting powertrains and design, and then half-ass it when it comes to the marketing? Come on. The people who make these cars deserve better. The people who buy these cars deserve better.
[Photo via Getty]