Aston Martin’s decision to offer a new mini-Aston based on Toyota’s iQ baby hatchback must be making secret agent 007, as well as M, Q, Moneypenny, and the whole gang on Her Majesty’s Secret Service hopping mad.
Long associated as the Bond car (before BMW and product placement took control of the Bond series, that is), the Aston Martin perfectly accentuated the Sean Connery coolness of the lead character. The silver sports car became synonymous with uber sophistication, along with ordering a vodka martini, shaken not stirred and introducing oneself as, ‘Bond. James Bond.’
Specially equipped with ejector seats, machine guns, smoke screen exhaust pipes and god knows what else, the Aston Martin would whisk Bond to and from assignments and enable him to barely escape a seemingly impossible tight squeeze. Now, though, the only tight squeeze will be the one caused by the new, smaller and cheaper Aston, called the Cygnet (Ugh. What a horrible name. What secret service agent worth his 9mm Glock would want to ride around in a baby swan?).
Driven by the desperation of a horrible economy, Aston is making the same branding mistake committed by General Motors and other luxury brands. They’re marginalizing their high-end brand equity in order to make a quick buck (or, Pound Sterling, in Aston’s case).
Trust me. As surely as 007 always gets the girl and vanquishes the bad guy in the end, Aston’s move will backfire. True sports car enthusiasts will abandon the brand when good times return and Aston will end up with a confused marketplace image. On the plus side, though, Aston’s demise will most assuredly put a smile on the faces of Blofeld and Odd Job.
Thanks to Carl Foster for the tip on this entry.