Hyundai’s Happy Ending is the Media Industry’s Ticket To Succes
You may have seen the viral video of the worst parking job ever. 1,684,803 views since the Thursday Oct. 22 incident. While we gawk and guffaw, the owner of the crushed 2004 Hyundai Elantra (the one in the foreground) had just finished paying off his car loan!
The 62 year-old woman driving the BMW was arrested for leaving the scene. The crushed Hyundai owner was left looking to replace his car. So what did Hyundai do? They surprised him with a new Elantra Touring:
“We wanted to help the guy,” said Hyundai Canada representative Barb Pitblado. “This was our random act of kindness.”
Incredibly savvy. And just one of the reasons people love Hyundai. People like The Big Picture‘s Barry Ritholtz, who swoons over the Korean car brand:
I drove BMWs for thirty plus years. They are the ultimate driving machines, or one of them, but not only are repairs ultra-expensive, they’re frequent. The purchase price is just the starting price. Budget thousands a year just for maintenance. And, if you read the car magazines, you’ll see that they’ve had numerous problems with their BMW test cars, like engines seizing up. As for Mercedes… Great car, but they don’t handle like a BMW. And if you’re not looking for that handling finesse, maybe you should consider a…Hyundai?
Happened to me again in Denver. Enterprise once again. They were going to give us an HHR. I’d rented a Malibu, not bad, but I’m not gonna drive around Colorado in this miniaturized imitation panel truck from the thirties. No f***ing way. Didn’t they have anything else?
The clerk winked and said he could offer us a Hyundai…
That Sonata was smaller than the Azera I’d rented the previous fall, but just as lovable. I’m telling you, if my present car got totaled this afternoon, I’d buy a Hyundai. Why waste all that extra money on a shinier nameplate? It’s just a car. And, unlike its American counterparts, Hyundai is more than a car, it’s like a pet, it’s adoptable, you fall in love.
I’m a loyal Hyundai owner who drives a Sonata, so I was happy to read the praise. But my favorite part of Ritholtz’s post was the lesson he draws from the car-maker’s success:
What this means is it’s never too late for the music industry to regain the hearts and minds of the consumer. But it must offer good products at fair prices.
Instead, the labels have been like GM. Help us out! Do something about file-trading! Meanwhile, the consumer doesn’t want this overpriced Top Forty beat-driven crap. Not in quantity.
And concert tickets? I’d say they’re at Mercedes-Benz level prices, but they’re more akin to the numbers for Ferrari, or Rolls Royce. Maybe U2 and the Eagles can command such high prices, but most people can’t afford them. And buying a concert ticket is worse than buying a car. With the Internet, you can now comparison shop for automobiles. The dreaded sales manager routine, the endless rip-off negotiation, has been to a great degree decimated. But who knows what the price of a concert ticket will be until you click through to the final Ticketmaster page. The add-ons are like undercoating and floor mats, shit you don’t want that they insist you buy.
If the music industry would treat its customers as respected fans, instead of threatening to arrest them, there’s good evidence those pirates will pay:
We’ve seen several studies over the last decade that say music “pirates” buy the same amount of music or even more… but we’ve also seen research that suggests a net loss to the music industry (or to the recording industry, which is not the same thing). New research out of the UK suggests that my story isn’t archetypal, but it’s not uncommon, either.
Think tank Demos commissioned the survey (PowerPoint) from Ipsos MediaCT, and Ipsos went out and surveyed 1,008 Internet-using UK adults aged 16 to 50. A third of them admitted to using “unofficial” sources to find music, though only 10 percent said that they actually downloaded copyrighted content without permission.
For more on the future of the music industry, I urge you to listen to the various stories in this hour of On The Media. It is a terrific look at the range of challenges, and some of the fascinating approaches to addressing them.
And while I’m on the subject of media companies trashing their customers, 60 Minutes did a bang-up job of showcasing the movie industry’s Laughable, Factually Incorrect MPAA Propaganda On Movie Piracy. See here and here for some solid criticism. And here for the techmeme discussion around it.
Just one example of the stupid way the industry treats movie-goers depicted by 60 minutes (as an example of how the industry has been forced, forced, to defend itself) is the search and pat down movie-goers have to endure as they “pass through airport-like security” to see a preview of a blockbuster release. These are the industry’s biggest fans and that’s how they treat them? No wonder people would rather wait and watch on their living room big screen.