Last week, I stumbled across this ad for the new Honda Odyssey. Are we to believe this man is giving his wife a minivan as a romantic gesture? Is this someone’s idea of a romantic evening out? I hope not.
While I ‘love’ my minivan* and expect many mothers say the same thing, it certainly isn’t romantic, sexy or exciting – it’s practical. We love the minivan because our children can climb in and out with ease, it has a mirror where we can watch them kick one another, and it can haul a lot of stuff (more children, sports equipment, tailgating supplies, vacation gear etc.). Vans multi-task just like we do.
This Fall, Honda launched a new ad campaign for its 2011 Odyssey MiniVan. The ad campaign is a series of “Vantasies” including the romance ‘vantasy’ (seen here), a rock star ‘vantasy’ directed at men and airing on sports channels (get back to us on how well that goes), and a tranquility ‘vantasy’. The goal of the “Vantasy” campaign is to change the image of the minivan for the Gen X and Y buyers (apparently a do-over of the Baby Boomer’s shag carpet/disco ball van). Good for them but I just can’t help but think they’ve missed the real ‘beauty’ of the mini-van.
Seriously? Have any of the masterminds behind this campaign ever driven a minivan with kids inside? Have any of them agonized over selling their sports car, trading in a well-loved SUV, or parting with their zippy two-door in order to acquire a minivan? I think not.
Moms drive minivans because they are multi-tasking, problem solvers. Why else would we drive them? A van costs as much as the car we really want– the one your formerly hot, carefree self would have loved. The mini-van actually makes a Mom’s life a little easier and, for that reason alone, thousands of moms will reward Honda by purchasing this van. (The husband that presents it as a romantic gesture? Well, HE can drive it).
Toyota’s Sienna family took another angle on the van. Toyota has figured out that once you’ve traded in being hip for being practical, the only thing you have left is your humor. You might as well go with it for the next few years, since you know you’re already counting down to the moment you can get back to your “real” vehicle (middle school? end of Little League?).
So, the next time you’re rustling kids around and need to be in two places at once with dinner; think about the romance, tranquility and excitement of the minivan. I suspect your ‘vantasy’ might be not be a vehicle strewn with rose petals or Cheerios.
*Note: Brooke is the van driver here. Tina never capitulated to the vantasy pressure and instead has suffered through driving an overstuffed SUV or family sedan with the kids’ feet resting atop all their gear.