First Impressions Last a Lifetime

And this article had a terrible first impression. The title left me baffled. Toyota tackled a chicken and an egg? The entire company? What a poor chicken. Clearly, the egg would not survive either. The author used her metaphor before it was even introduced. Also, I understand the problem of the chicken versus the egg; including that one word might have saved the title but not likely. I will say one more thing about the title: the chicken and the egg metaphor is trite, though it applies here, I think that highlighting a different aspect of the article, like the $200 million dollars set aside by California to build hydrogen fuel stations, would be more intriguing.

The article bores the reader to say the least. I doubt anyone who lacks an interest in sustainability or technology would have made it even a quarter of the way through it. The first page felt like it was trying to sell me a Mirai, telling me all the intimate details of its lease and cash due at signing. The only interesting datum presented was the conversion of the cost of hydrogen into what it would be for gasoline: $4/gallon. The author, however left out what I think is the crucial fact, that the cost of gasoline will only rise from this point onward, while the cost of hydrogen should fall precipitously as the technology becomes more standard.

I do believe that the lede, though clearly not a scene, remains compelling, once you understand where the chicken and the egg come into play. She presents a problem with a clear benefit for solving it, and that should hook most readers in. The kicker, however, ended on a low note. I would have wrote it as follows:

Toyota’s managing officer Satoshi Ogiso, who oversees product planning, remains optimistic: “I believe this technology is going to change our world, and sooner rather than later.”

Ending on introducing the person versus on what the person says makes a big difference in my opinion. What did you think of the article?


About jythree

Environmental Science Student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

2 Responses to “First Impressions Last a Lifetime”

  1. I would have to disagree with you, John, regarding this article having a terrible first impression. To me, it seems that the metaphor in the title makes sense and could potentially intrigue readers. The title makes you wonder: “What did Toyota tackle?? Why is this important? What does this mean?” Although I believe that the title is effective, I do think that it could have been more specific with the metaphor.

    Also, I think that the reason why the author of this article included all the specific information about the car itself (selling price, mpg, efficiency, etc) was to show just how impressive this car really is! Those are the reasons why people would be interested in purchasing this car. Those are the reasons why this article is important and new. Why would people switch over from a car that drives on petroleum to a car that drives on hydrogen fuel if there really is no difference between the two? I think that the information presented is important and will leave a good impression on the reader.

  2. I liked the lede of this article. It explained in simple terms how a hydrogen fuel cell car differs from an electric car. The last sentence in which they state that the only bi-product is water caught my attention because with fossil fuel cars the bi-product is CO2 which is one of the biggest environmental concerns today.
    I agree with Heather that the stats the article provided on mpg and efficiency were important in explaining how amazing the car is, but I would have like to see a comparison to a fossil-fuel car, as I am not a car person and those numbers did not tell me a lot without the comparison.
    I am confused by the chicken-egg metaphor they tried to use. I know the chicken-egg saying as “what came first, the chicken or the egg,” but I don’t see how it applies to the car. I agree with Heather in that they should have developed the metaphor more.
    They also used 2 strong quotes from the Department of Energy and the Toyota managing officer.

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