The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 June 2005

Post-teenage wasteland

I wasn't around much before that, so I couldn't tell you if the trend had already started by then, but about the time the 1960s counterculture was taking hold, marketroids had figured out that it was possible, and theoretically profitable, to drive a wedge between young people who were cool, and not-so-young people who were not so cool, by developing products aimed specifically at post-adolescents.

Except, of course, that it doesn't actually work. If there's anything a self-respecting twentysomething hates, it's having something pitched to him because he's a twentysomething. ("It's like we're, like, being used.") It's not that they necessarily want to hang with the elders or anything; it's just that they'd like to find their Special Things on their own, thank you very much.

So kiss Coca-Cola Zero goodbye; it is geared specifically to the Young and Hip, the very model of your modern major marketing, and it will fall flat on its artificially-sweetened face. Lynn gives it the royal send-off:

I love that — "a new brand they can call their own." Well what are they gonna do if us old farts decide we like it and start drinking it? Will they call the age police on us or will they just give it up in despair. "Damn those old people. We can't have any brand to call our own."

Damn us, indeed.

Think Honda Element, a funky panel truck built on the CR-V platform, which everyone was sure would appeal to surfer dudes and such and which was far too outré for everyone else. After the first year, the numbers were in, and the average Element buyer was, um, 43 years old.

Hitting a moving target is hard enough; hitting a target that doesn't take kindly to being considered a target is damned near impossible.

Posted at 6:02 AM to Dyssynergy

TrackBack: 8:08 AM, 19 June 2005
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In the latest smoke signal from Injun Territory, Chaz notes that the Honda Element, while successful, isn't exactly hitting the demographic target it aimed for.Think Honda Element, a funky panel truck built on the CR-V platform, which everyone was sure...[read more]

TrackBack: 12:49 AM, 22 June 2005
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The new Coke product, Zero, strikes me as the worst branding mistake since New Coke. For one thing it is taking away the tiny amount of shelf space allotted to Diet Cherry Coke, and it has already been difficult to......[read more]

Yeah, the Element does attract some older folks. It's pretty cool though. I know a few people who have bought them, and they absolutely love it. At gatherings it has actually been one of those "You want to come outside and see the Element", and I swear like six people have gone out there. It's not a Ferrari, people!

Posted by: Brad Warbiany at 9:46 AM on 19 June 2005

Sprite Zero worked so I suppose it was inevitable! But considering they've already determined that it is no more than simply Diet Sprite with a new name doesn't it follow that this is simply Diet Coke with a new name?

Posted by: ms7168 at 9:56 AM on 19 June 2005

The Element is different enough to create its own demand. I have no doubt that its success was sufficient to convince Toyota that the home-market bB would sell over here, which now it does. (The Scion xB is the second-generation bB.) I'm betting Nissan's Cube is next.

And I think I'm going to test-drive a Mazda CX-7 when it gets here next year.

Aside to Detroit: Please note that none of your metoomobiles is on this list. Chrysler's 300 is a little bit too big for my needs or for my garage, but you've got nothing else compelling that I can actually afford. (Maybe a Mustang if I confine myself to the six-cylinder.)

Posted by: CGHill at 10:05 AM on 19 June 2005

Were I as cynical as the times demand, I'd suspect that Coca-Cola Zero is all the unsold C2 from last year, repackaged.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:08 AM on 19 June 2005

There are some hoogly Japanese cars in Japan, including just about every "k-car" in existence. These include cars that I appear taller than they are long. (It's just an illusion, but they are weird lookin')

Posted by: Dan at 2:18 PM on 19 June 2005

OK . . now I've drank one and it is different (and good!)

Posted by: ms7168 at 10:46 PM on 19 June 2005