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The Camry Effect Is Ineffectual - DrivingScene

Categorized | Editorial

The Camry Effect Is Ineffectual

Posted on 01 October 2011 by Adam Kaslikowski

Toyota launched something called The Camry Effect on Sept. 14 in an effort to drum up awareness for the allĀ  new 2012 Camry. The idea was to have current and past Camry owners chime in on a special website (http://www.toyota.com/camryeffect) and share their stories of first dates, road trips, and memorable moments with the world.

The problem with this, of course, is that Camrys are bought by people who don’t care about cars. They wanted an appliance that got them from point A to point B without them needing to check the oil or get dirty. How often do you check Whirlpool’s website hoping for a chance to profess your love for your washing machine? So why would Camry owners suddenly be filled with enough emotion about their cars to fill out Toyota’s survey and tell their stories? Well, they haven’t been.

According to their own website, 6.8 million drivers have been “changed by the Camry effect.”That is a deeply impressive number, yet at the time I am writing this (Oct. 1st), only 4476 people have volunteered their stories. This miserable percentage of respondents has resulted in such hilarious “findings’ as there only being 54 Camrys (out of almost 7 million) with a custom paint job. I’m sure there are more than 54 Camrys with custom paint in Southern California alone. Their statistics are so skewed from this in fact that the sites proudly declares that only 16 people have owned their Camry for more than 5 years. Clearly, they were expecting a much bigger turnout or they wouldn’t be touting a figure that so blatantly goes in the face of what Toyotas are known for: staying on the road longer than the Grateful Dead.

I’m not going to ask for a Supra Effect (although that would be awesome), but what I will ask for is that Toyota’s PR dept. think through their promotions a little more carefully. Obviously, instilling the kind of feelings necessary to drive present and former customers to share their product stories does not exist for cars that evoke about as much emotion as my refrigerator. No one is passionate about their Camry. And no one should be.