Voice, Message, and Audience–Context is Crucial

Watch this ad from Honda about how to be a doer for the environment, and tell me what you think.

Here’s what I think:

I love the message of the ad, that not only gives us specific, easy things we can do to be more environmentally responsible drivers (only the beginning of what’s possible), but also positions Honda as a leader. But I think for a general audience the ad is a disaster, because it doesn’t give one important snippet of crucial context before slowly beginning the sloooow narrative.
I was halfway through before I realized the voiceover was Garrison Keillor (or a very close sound-alike). If people “get” that more quickly, then they will forgive taking 30 seconds or so to even start talking about the issue, because that’s his style. But I didn’t realize that at first, and if I hadn’t been told ahead of time what the ad was about, I would have been gone. So this could be a whole lot more effective if
1) There’s a splash page at the beginning that has a caption like “Garrison Keillor’s Eco-Driving Tips”
2) It aired in places where Keillor is a known quantity

BTW, if you want easy tips to be more eco-friendly in AND out of your car, I recommend my just-published e-book, Painless Green: 110 Tips to Help the Environment, Lower Your Carbon Footprint, Cut Your Budget, and Improve Your Quality of Life-With No Negative Impact on Your Lifestyle. It’s cheap, and the tips are very easy to implement. Yes, there’s a section on transportation.

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