My Marshall McLuhan Moment

One of my favorite moments in film is in “Annie Hall,” where Woody Allen confronts a know-it-all in line at the movies with Annie, and pulls in Marshal McLuhan himself to tell the guy he’s wrong.

I had one of those moments today when I read that Toyota was coming out with a concept car powered by hydrogen fuel cells. I blogged back in July that branding for a hydrogen car should focus on the fact that the only exhaust from this technology is water. Several bloggers scoffed at the notion. But Toyota, the world’s number one automaker, has validated my statement through the actual design of their new concept car: they shaped it to resemble a drop of water. Their current name for the vehicle is a placeholder until they launch a real consumer car sometime in 2015, but the shape of their car is the first step in their brand development, something even more fundamental than the name. Now they can build on this to make a really compelling consumer brand, just as they did with their groundbreaking Prius. Thank you, Toyota, for being my Marshall McLuhan.