by Jacob Gordon
To promote its new 3rd generation Prius, Toyota is planting solar-powered W-Fi flowers in key American cities. These installation-ads give people a place to sit, as well as free wireless internet and a place to plug in a laptop or cellphone. According to Toyota, this falls under the marketing charge of creating "harmony between man, nature and machine," which we can respect. Some of the company's other claims, however, sound like they fell off the stupid wagon.
A press release on the campaign goes on to state that: "This fully integrated marketing effort explains how consumers can get virtually everything they want for themselves in a car – advanced technology, extra power, space, safety and 50 miles per gallon – all while providing what nature craves most: fewer smog-forming emissions."
Forgive us for questioning the notion of finding virtually everything we want for ourselves in a car, hybrid or not. But it is particularly asinine to suggest that fewer smog-forming emissions is "what nature craves most." presumptuous anthromorphism aside, smog is probably not madame nature's most vexing concern.
But ignoring the press release's wording for a moment, the ad campaign earns points for creativity, at least a certain degree of beauty, and genuine utility. Also part of the campaign is a series of solar-ventilated bus shelters. These is meant to reference the optional solar-powered ventilation fan on the newest Prius that cools the car when parked. The solar flowers and bus shelters will creep into half a dozen US cities by the fall of 2009, and Toyota has also announced it will be advertising the Prius along California highways with "floralscapes," first-of-their-kind living billboards made of flowers.