Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

Aston Martin’s Handbag

So the wraps have come off the production-ready Cygnet at the Geneva Motor show and I’m as mad as ever with this cynical little marketing exercise (my previous take on the car is here). For proof of how off-zeitgeist the little Toyota-in-ready-to-wear is, Steve Cropley over at Autocar reports that Aston chief Dave Richards says the car will

sell the way a £3000 Hermès handbag does to rich ladies.

The comment rings with the same misplaced smugness that Ulrich Bez projected when suggesting that the massive Lagonda SUV concept was ideal for HNW individuals in eastern and developing countries. This was , presumably, because it could crush the proletariat as it steamed from oil well to arms deal to the House of the Rising Sun.

In his short piece on Autocar’s ever-interesting Design Language blog, Cropley goes on to imply that those rich ladies mustn’t have a good understanding of the Toyota range if they’re going to shell out for the Cygnet.

I go on to say that, Toyota underpinnings or not, Ason Martin’s product messages get more off track with every motor show.

Hermes handbags are passé (even La Beckham has stopped yapping bout her many-hundred strong collection) and surely, if any female fashion accessories will come to best represent the excesses of the pre-financial-cluster-fuck era, surely the Hermes Kelly and Birkin bags will be them.

To tie a car of questionable lineage and even more questionable taste to such a bête noire seems like marketing suicide when dealing with a core clientele that are now looking for dog whistle taste.

Yet to fight the dilution of the Aston Martin brand is perhaps a futile exercise. It was only last week that we saw their other brand association exercise come to market, the Aston Martin x Nike “Kobe Bryant” Hyperdunk.

I don’t know weather to laugh or cry.

P.S For a car that speaks to handbag hussies, this press shot looks way more H&M than Hermes.

Category: Design Strategy

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2 Responses

  1. Ben Kraal says:

    AM obviously, though inexplicably, wants to be Burberry.

    Those Nike’s are horrible, too. Consider the number of people who would have had to sign off on that and who didn’t say no.

  2. Massimo says:

    Already said previously in 4 months AML has passed from an HORRID, ENORMOUS LAGONDA to a little CYGNET.

    AML is clearly confusing:

    Brand awareness with brand recognition
    Platform sharing with platform re-usage
    Badge engineering with badge swapping

    I said already if this is the future of automotive industry:

    this kind of Automotive industry deserve to FAIL…

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.