I had seen the commercial a couple of times, but I hadn’t really paid too much attention to it. Then I read Harlan Coben’s tweet about it:
Is it weird that Chevy’s adverising campaign relies on the fact that no one believes Chevy is reliable?
— Harlan Coben (@HarlanCoben) January 7, 2019
So I went back and watched the commercial again; in case you haven’t seen it, here it is:
And Mr. Coben is right, it’s a terrible commercial for Chevrolet. The last time I checked, it had 293 likes, but 415 thumbs down – and that’s on Chevy’s official YouTube page! And the comments are just brutal.
The commercial tries to surprise owners of Ford, Honda, and Toyota automobiles that Chevy cars are more reliable than all of them. And all 12 people in the commercial are quite surprised when such results are announced. But as Coben points out, this would seem to suggest that Chevy is not a car company that people associate with reliability; and the comments to the video seem to reinforce such a belief.
So why would Chevy want to publicize that fact, and open themselves up to such criticism?
While some people may say all publicity is good, I don’t think it holds true in this case. The commercial even led to an article on cheatsheet.com that researched Chevy’s claim about reliability. Here’s what they found:
Going by 2019 Consumer Reports rankings, Chevrolet ranked 23rd among 29 car brands evaluated. That made Chevy vehicles seventh-worst overall. The Traverse SUV and Silverado 2500 HD pickup showed up among the year’s poorest-scoring vehicles for reliability.
And how do Ford, Honda, and Toyota make out on such rankings? Once again, here’s what the people at cheatsheet.com have to say:
Toyota places first or second in reliability studies every year. If you looked at the decade’s 20 most reliable vehicles, 10 are Toyotas. None are Chevys. Honda also consistently ranks among the top 10 auto brands for reliability, although it was ranked 15th in the 2019 Consumer Reports survey. As for Ford, the Dearborn-based automaker typically lands in the middle of the pack — but usually better than Chevy.
So how can Chevy make such a claim?
Market-research company Ipsos came up with the results that looked great for Chevy based on vehicles in service from December 2014 to June 2015. About 49,000 people completed the surveys. So Chevy’s claim that its vehicle scored so well on “a recent nationwide survey” doesn’t quite ring true. A lot can change in four years for a car model. Meanwhile, that sample looks very small compared to the annual Consumer Reports surveys that include data from over 500,000 replies.
As the editors at cheatsheet.com concluded, it’s a huge stretch to say Chevy’s cars are more reliable from those by the other brands (especially Toyota). Saying it without any context is misleading.
As always, buyer beware; you can’t believe everything you see on TV (or YouTube).
But thankfully there are people that check this stuff, and it doesn’t take long to find helpful info on the web.
So I give the Chevy ad two thumbs down.
But two thumbs up for my Toyota Matrix; it has more than 200,000 miles on it and it still runs and looks great.
And a tip of the hat to Harlan Coben for inspiring this post.
*image from cheatsheet.com