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“I Like Trucks…”


Seven months ago I almost bought a real life gas guzzling monster. Now I go to sleep at night saying a little prayer that I decided not to purchase one. And yet, now that as a nation we face over $4/per gallon for gas, a voice inside of me still wants a truck. What ‘drives’ us as a culture to want things that we should not want and buy things that we do not need?

Sure, I rationalize all day and night about the benefits of owning a truck: safety (the thing is built like a tank), I can haul stuff for both personal and for business, convenience, they look cool, brake on a dime, excellent acceleration, for a truck this one gets good gas mileage, most cars only get marginally better gas mileage…and the rationalization hits keep coming.
Me? I’m emotionally tied to the truck. It is how I see myself. I am not happy that I drive a sedan to work every day. It is not the choice I would make, but I don’t have options! A Prius? Please. Volkswagen Passat? I’m in the advertising industry. No offense meant, but I’d rather not perpetuate the stereotype of a metrosexual man in the advertising industry driving a Volkswagen. I like the cars and they seem to be a good value, but they are just not how I see myself.
I want to be able to drive over curbs, pull some little car out of a ditch, tailgate at Gator games and cringe every week or so when I go to the gas station to fill up at a measly $100 plus a stop.
How could it be that car and truck manufacturers did not see this negative trend coming? Consider the Tahoe Hybrid, one of the few worthwhile SUVs that offer hybrid technology…consider that the Tahoe Hybrid only gets maybe 25% more gas mileage than the non-hybrid option. Awful! And, at a paltry $50,000., I’m not sure who actually can buy one.
And really, what would be the point? Honestly, I feel bad for the people that already have and soon will lose their jobs working for the large corporate car manufacturing brand name giants like Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Chevy and GM. Where did the innovation go? And don’t get me wrong, the original invention of the SUV was an outstanding one. But why did it have to stop there? The answer? It didn’t. What stops and literally stomps out creativity and innovation is corporate inflexibility and bureaucracy.
Consider the iPod. How was the iPod different than the other 5 or 6 brands out on the market at the time this technology was released to the masses? Innovation. Design. And Risk. While most corporations are risk adverse and many don’t remotely value design, Apple has always valued design as a part of their DNA. Ask Apples stockholders if they value design. While good design will never save a bad product, good design will make a good product better. If you will forgive the sports metaphor, a good product without design is a seeing eye single. But a good product with an emphasis on good design can be a home run.
Designers are the translators for your products and services to your target customers and base. And designers do our work analytically, with strategy and process. We can prove statistically that companies that emphasize Design see a positive ROI. See Apple if you have any questions.
Give me a call if you want to take the step to differentiate your product in this highly competitive marketplace. And please, make me a truck that I can afford to drive. Thank you.

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