As everyone knows, Toyota has had some major quality and safety issues. So they’re developed something called the “Star Safety System” which they’re including in every car and truck they make, and telling customers about it in full-page ads. But click on this ad to view it full size and tell me where it explains what the STAR Safety System is, how it protects you or why you should care. You can't, because it doesn't.
The Star Safety System in fact includes Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and other great stuff to keep you from spinning off the road into oblivion. But all you get from the ad is a vague buzzword. I’ll bet Toyota thinks the ad will raise general awareness of the concept and encourage customers to go on the Web or to a dealer to learn more. Or maybe the folks creating the ad have lived and breathed the Star Safety System for so long they assume everyone knows what it is.
But the customer doesn’t know or care enough to learn more. They take 20 seconds to glance at the ad and either get it or they don’t. The ad made me suspicious that the Star Safety System can’t be all that impressive or they would have explained it. Or that Toyota not only can’t make safe cars, but can’t even explain what they’re doing to make safe cars. I know neither of those is true, but why even make me think about those possibilities? With an additional 20-25 words, Toyota could have summed up the benefits of the system and left me with a positive impression.
If you want to tell your customer something, tell them. If you introduce a new brand or product name or initiative, explain what it does. If a global, industry-leading giant like Toyota can miss this basic step, so can you. Getting someone from outside your organization review your marketing content will force you to answer obvious questions such as “Uh, what exactly does this thing do, and why should anyone care?”