I have a strange belief that the power of (and loyalty to) brands you fall in love with as a kid can supplant tens millions of dollars spent trying to lure you elsewhere, in adulthood.
I called them “bedroom wall brands”. To me, as a child growing up in the UK in the early 70’s, those brands were Aston Martin (courtesy of the James Bond franchise), Ferrari (don’t laugh, courtesy of Magnum P.I.) and Liverpool Football Club. Oh, and the United States.
Those loves (what Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts terms “Love Marks”) are indelibly etched in my brain.
When I was able to afford a serious sports car, despite the “common sense”of a Porsche, I wanted a Ferrari. And I got one. And, later, I managed to scrape the funds together to buy an Aston Martin. And, eventually, I even managed to secure the Holy Grail: a silver Aston Martin DB5 – the car Sean Connery drove in many Bond movies.
And you know what? It was a piece of crap.
Surely one of the most beautiful cars ever built, but, well, it was like driving a truck. It had a gearbox from a tractor (no, it really did), steering seemingly from a U-Haul truck and the kind of speed and handling one could expect from an AMC Pacer. In short, it was awful to drive. And it was unreliable in the extreme. And every time it ventured to the shop (and by that I mean it needed to go to the Factory) it could clean me out of $15,000 a few times a year.
So did it erode the brand for me?
Actually, yes, it did. They were beautiful, appallingly-built, cars. (Now, for sure, their cars are still beautiful, and now very well made – courtesy of a CEO who used to work for Porsche.)
Do I want one again? Nope.
The brand “promise” was broken. Like a cracked glass, almost impossible to fix.
And so to the man who spent $4.2M on the Batmobile. Well, I hope he enjoys it and sees it for what it is. The materialization of a long-held dream.
I’d suggest he never attempts to drive it.