When faced with the task of making the Boris Johnson of motor cars attractive to the general public, Daihatsu took a leaf out of Boris’ book in employing simple tactics of humour and clever association to gain popularity and appeal.
Without his bumbling character or humorous endeavours (recall the zip-wire incident?) reported frequently in the papers, Boris would undoubtedly attract little attention. Creativity and humour have been shown to be effective in advertising with research showing that the use of puns or tropes can significantly improve the persuasiveness and memory for an advert (Toncar & Munch, 2001). In this instance, the double entendre of “picks up” leads the audience to imagine a sexy, expensive sports car magnetic to women. The surprise at the reality of statement when presented with the image of a man with five attractive women sat in a minivan is humorous and therefore likely to make it more memorable.
Research shows that people wearing suits are seen as more reputable and desirable than people wearing ordinary clothing and we are more likely to act as they do (Lefkowitz et al., 1965). This suggests that the mere association of something or someone with a high quality or more reputable element such as clothing, brand or person can make that something or person seem more attractive. Boris Johnson famously attended Eton School and Oxford University, both highly reputable institutions and likely to have aided in his perceived ability to hold a position of power. By merely pairing the word “Lamborghini” with an image of their minivan, Daihatsu have created an association of their minivan and a powerful, reputable car brand. This contrast may highlight the fact that the minivan is far less expensive than the Lamborghini, however it may also create a negative contrast of a cheap brand against a far more reputable and desirable brand.
Sex may not be the first thing that people think of when it comes to Boris or a minivan, but publication of Boris’ scandalous affairs have confirmed that Boris is not only sexually active, but also that Boris has several sexual partners and therefore must be attractive in some way to multiple women. Research suggests that what men really desire is multiple sexual partners and this information leant a great hand in the success of the Axe/Lynx campaigns. Research found that men rated cars more positively when an attractive woman was featured standing next to it (Smith & Engel, 1968). Therefore Daihatsu have created an association between their product and sex with multiple women, although less explicit than the Lynx campaigns, is likely to still have a positive effect.
So, when natural physical attractiveness is lacking there is still hope thanks to humour and positive association with other more attractive things or people.
Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1955). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51(3), 704.
Toncar, M., & Munch, J. (2001). Consumer responses to tropes in print advertising. Journal of Advertising, 30(1), 55-65.
Smith, G. H. & Engel R., (1968). Influence of a Female Model on Perceived Characteristics of an Automobile, Proceedings from the 76th APA Annual Convention, 681-682.