The New Salesperson

What did we do before TiVo?  No, seriously.  What did we do?  (And at that, what the heck did we do before Netflix?!)  I rarely watch my tv shows in realtime.  This is partially the result of my impatience to sit through commercials and somewhat an issue of never being home to physically sit down and watch the shows.  Whatever it may be, I’m thankful for tv.

I sat down last night, cozying up with my new winter throw (how cute is it?!), I clicked through my TiVo’d programs and decided to watch last week’s episode of Modern Family.  Lo and behold, I’m watching the episode and the B storyline features two characters purchasing a car from their local Toyota dealership(s).

In the episode, Jay (the sixty-something no-nonsense patriarch of the Pritchett family played by Ed O’Neill) is convinced that he can haggle the salesperson to get a “better” price on his granddaughter’s new car–it’s the old school idea that dealers are hiding the “good” price from you.  No one trusts a car dealership.  We’re used to it, unfortunately.  The stereotypical portrait of the car salesman has been around for years– he’s a slimy guy with slicked-back hair, an open collared shirt with a gold chain, and a sleazy grin just to remind you that he cannot be trusted.  Society has spent over forty years buying into the notion of the ugly salesman, but thankfully, a shift in pop culture (and reality) is helping paint a different portrait.  (Obviously, we earned a bad reputation for a reason, at one point, but those days are long gone for most of us.)

Despite the silly picture of salesmen that everyone is used to, most people in the car business have made concerted efforts to help build trust with their customers–to ensure that you understand we WANT you to get the best deal and we’re “not out to get” you.  Last week’s episode helped shed a positive light on the automobile industry and into the collective pop culture conscious.

Toyota and Modern Family have a product placement deal so yes, there was an incentive to put portray the band positively, but it also shows the very real scenario that we see everyday.  We know the mistrust is there (between the consumer and the dealership), but we work hard to banish those fears. Despite our greatest efforts, we’re still questioned and people shop around to find the “best” deal (which I understand).  However, what often occurs, though, is the fact that we can’t match a deal without losing money–a scene that went down in the episode.

Comedy works best when it’s truthful and this is a truthful episode.  I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t yet!  Click here to watch it.  To read more about the episode and more from Toyota’s marketing department, click here.


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