MK 354 Spring 2010

February 21, 2010

Credibility in the Antiauthority

Filed under: blog #4 — carolinerichov @ 5:39 pm

Think you know the world’s best-selling car?  If you’ve forgotten, ask someone you know… they might drive one.  It wouldn’t be surprising if cars current reputation has clouded your memory- but before the complaints, investigations and recalls, the Toyota Corolla was the world’s top seller.

Last year 1.3 million people purchased a new Corolla. For most people, purchasing a new car is usually not an impulse buy.  As consumers we do research, ask others for advice and scope out our options before making a final purchase.  With so many choices and different car advertisements, it is easy to “develop skepticism about the sources of those messages” (137).  Buying a new car can be a difficult process and credibility plays a major role in our decisions.

In “Made to Stick”, Chip and Dan Heath propose the question, “what makes people believe ideas?”  They continue to explain that we believe our parents, our friends and our experiences- the greatest credibility comes from those we know and what we’ve been through.  Toyota took this concept and marketed the Corolla stating “the most compelling reason to buy a new Corolla is an old Corolla”.  Based on the cars fuel efficiency and mileage, Toyota suggests the consumer be their own source of credibility based on past experiences with the car.  In addition, Toyota challenges the consumer saying “just ask someone you know who drives one”.  Instead of Toyota as the authorities telling you why you should buy their car (which they obviously want you to do), they suggest you ask others:  those who aren’t in business for your money.  It is these people, the antiauthorities, that the consumer truly finds credible.  Just as the Heath brothers illustrate a commercial about a great new shampoo having less credibility than hearing our friend rave about it, a consumer finds more credibility in a Corolla driver than in the Corolla commercial.

Even though current problems with Toyota may seem to hurt its credibility, it was the credibility of antiauthorities- Toyota drivers all over the world- that made the Corolla the best-selling car.

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