It’s a common sight, retailers slapping on the superlatives, the slick rhetoric and the definitive claims, which often sound sugary and sweet, but can quickly turn sour.
Notably, SsangYong who proclaimed itself to be ‘the best value mid-size SUV’ and fellow SUV Mahindra New Zealand who claimed it was ‘the best value seven-seater’. Unfortunately, each brand found themselves in hot water as the ASA quashed both claims, proving they simply were not the best.
Toyota has now indulged itself in the game of absolutist style slogans with its claim to be ‘New Zealand’s favourite car brand for 30 years’.
So, is Toyota treading in clean, dirty or murky waters?
Having fronted its campaign with one of New Zealand’s largest pests, two feral possums, Toyota isn’t sugar coating anything in the way of a glossy brand image. However, as the two possums are perched on a suburban tree, what is being said about Toyota is worth noting and possibly requires further verification.
The most recent ad runs a timeline of three different eras; the 80s, 90s and 2000s, with each era represented in the possums' spruced up haircuts. During each era, the two rodents exclaim Toyota as New Zealand's favourite, making it 'New Zealand’s favourite car brand for 30 years'.
But the question begs, does the word ‘favourite’ require Toyota to be the highest performer across all boards? The highest selling car brand? The most attractive car? The car with the smoothest purr?
First off, it's important to note, New Zealand has the fourth largest car ownership rate in the world, with 774 light vehicles per 1000 people in 2016, according to ehinz data.
And Toyota claims that one in four vehicles on New Zealand roads are its own, more than any other car brand in the country, according to its original advertisement.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s trusty motor vehicle assistance services, AA awarded its 2017 Car of the Year Award to the Skoda Kodiaq. Toyota made no appearances in the short list of ten finalists.
It is difficult to say whether Toyota is simply the most affordable and accessible car brand or the favourite. It appears advertising agencies will continue to throw caution to the wind with absolutist claims to fame, so let us leave Toyota in the best place possible, a cloudy grey area.