Ideas that travel: insights for motor marketing from the ESOMAR 2008 Automotive conference

Geoffrey Precourt
US Editor, WARC Online

Who, in their right mind, would still go out and buy a gas-guzzling, neighbor-infuriating, air-fouling sports-utility vehicle (SUV)? Or in the more polite language of two contributors to the recent ESOMAR Automotive conference, “What leads people to make a purchase decision that may be individually fulfilling, but could be construed by others as harmful in economic, social, environmental, ethical, and/or personal safety terms?”

The authors, Richard Brookes and Richard Starr, attribute much to the personality of the driver. SUV owners who used their vehicles every day reminded them of the Boy Scout motto: ‘Be prepared.’ This can apply to everything from having the option of seven seats to the perceived advantages in being able to sit high enough to see four cars ahead when driving. But concern for safety also motivated potential purchasers of the anti-SUV: the hybrid car.