donderdag 22 september 2011

Lexus? What is your commercial about?

Above is the newest commercial from Lexus. Yes indeed, apparently it is a car commercial, not Dr. Phil like the first 25 seconds of the commercial might let you think. Nor is it some MTV series about some girl you don't know, if you watch closely you might even see the car in it! Everything about the commercial is not Lexus, not that I know what 'Lexusness' is, but at no moment this commercial seems to appeal to the/a Lexus driver. Mainly because the driver only features for 1,5 second. Let me carefully analyse this marketing marvel.

Shot one: Girl chewing gum and being busy with her Black Berry, this commercial could be about anything. When I first saw this I thought it was another commercial about some girls thing like lipstick or 'accessories', so I lost interest. Yet I kept seeing it so it got on my nerves, hence the blogpost.

"So Catherine, tell me about your week." 
Then a manly voice comes in, apparently he is not the father as he asks how the girl's week was. Naive idiot. But hey, he's a psychiatrist so he makes money asking naive questions. Following this is a tsunami of complaints from the girls' side, and that is where Lexus really loses it.

"So my week was terrible [...] Well I am green and he (Father-person) knows it, and he bought this Lexus RX"
After nagging on how bad her week was, she mentions what car her father bought. Several mistakes in this sentence. 
1. The girl's week is mainly determined by her father's new car, which is impossible, how can something that is not yours bother you for a whole week?
2. Her dad bought the car, which technically means the teenage girl should be totally indifferent about the whole issue.
3. It's a girl, girls don't know cars come in different types, cars only exist in different colours to them. 

"The RX 450?"
"The Full Hybrid?"

Somehow the commercial turns into a motoring program, carefully mentioning technical details. Lexus completely blows it on above mentioned mistake #3 as the girl seems to recall the engine size and special hybrid feature of Satan's newest tool of mobility. Also she mentions it is a hybrid and green, contrasting the point of her rant about the planet.

"Well what's wrong with that?"
-"Like totally nothing. Can't you see my problem?" 
Psychiatrist guy is with me on that one. You are green, the car is a hybrid, what are you on about?
Luckily Lexus takes us back to step 1 again. All up to know has basically been useless spam about nothing. We now know you're trying to sell A car (we still haven't seen it) which is a hybrid and that drives teenage girls mad. It must be brilliant then, right?

After this we see the girl get in the car, rant some more at her dad who drives of with a smile of utter smugness on his face. Also we finally see the car, wohee! In a cheap computer animation it seems, no psychiatrist's office in the world looks like that. 

So, did it convince you to buy it? Me neither, as I have barely an idea what the car looks like. I don't know how it drives, what it costs, how many people will fit in or how it looks from the front or the back. I do know that this is the car commercial with the least car in it of all times, can someone from the advertising agency tell me how you can sell something by barely showing it?

zondag 18 september 2011

Me and the Hire Car Tyrrany

Being here in Finland, my parents want to visit me at some point. And as I know my way around here a tiny bit better I offered to pick them up at the airport and drive them here. Dad already hired the car and I was ready to pick it up when my parents would arrive (not in a months time, don't worry). Yet once again some absolute monarch at bloody Europcar decided that a drivers license does not count when you are young. Sounds strange doesn't it? Let me explain.
What the hirecar mob does is completely and utterly irrelevant: they put up an age limit to drive a hire car. Experience? Not needed. Capability? Neither. Any form of eyesight? Why would you?

In theory, and in this stupid practice, John who is 20 years old and got his drivers license yesterday is allowed to pick up his car with a nasty dent on the boot and drive of. Despite having ONE day of driving experience for the law. Barry, who is 19 years and 300 days old and who has his license for nearly two years gets rejected because of his age. Surely that'll make the roads safer? The reason that my insurance costs less than John's is because of experience, the reason that John is more likely to get into an accident is his lack of experience. Why does this get ignored if young drivers are always seen as a risk?

I was especially surprised to encounter this in Finland, where the average age for one's first driving experience is at 4,3 years old. That I got rejected in Portugal previously was no surprise to me, as they hate the Dutch (seen any Euro Championship?), but surely the Finns must have some clever training program for future Rally champions that works with hire cars? Otherwise Raikkonen and Grönholm were your last champions I think.

When you read this, Europcar, I hope a young driver crashes into your office hidden somewhere in a mountain in France. Or otherwise into your pathetic cycling team, Thomas Voeckler is an enormous #$%@^&*($#!
Meanwhile I am going to do some Rally stages with the hire car, try to find me, I am near that Finnish lake.

dinsdag 13 september 2011

Has your car got KERS yet?

 Yes, I should have posted something earlier, but I've been quite busy with my exchange here in Finland so never found the time to write something. Until now!

Me being a downright petrolhead, I am of course keeping track what happens in the world of motorsport. And over the past years we have seen a move to Greener racing by changing to smaller engines, Diesel cars in several categories and green gizmos like KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). What bothers me is that where motorsports used to be a laboratory for road cars, the green stuff is pure image building as none of the 'discoveries' has been used in the regular road car.

First of all, racing is not green, and will not be. A circus of 6000 people travelling around the world by airplane to drive around in circles (7200km in total for the race alone) is not what I call green. The technology in racing is sometimes kept dated on purpose (i.e. banning of engine development) to keep the SPORT competative. Yet this is no point as up till now racing was never meant to be green. 

In ye olden days, motor racing was part marketing for one's brand and part a high-speed laboratory for that same brand. And you will be surprised when you see the list of things that actually came from motor racing. Basic things like windscreen wipers came from there and later the more advanced Traction Control and Active Suspension were pioneered in motor racing.

Nowadays though, Formula one tells us to fall of our seat in pure amazement just because they turned the cars into a Toyota Prius with wings, yet what Toyota have done is far more impressive and useful than what is being done in F1. See KERS does not contribute to the fuel economy (if any) at all, it is used as an extra boost during races and therefore adding to the excitement, not to the environment. Though there have been talks to make cars drive fully electric during pit stops it hasn't made the slightest of differences so far, contrary to the image they want to sell to the world.

To conclude, F1 have so far jumped on the Green bandwagon, and flipped it in the first corner. I might have a high expectancy from the fans (as they follow a quite technical sport), but I think a lot of people see through this faux-green image. In combination with the near abolition of ingenuity is one bad thing, but to portrait you're being inventive after this is even worse. Please be inventive again, we know you can be.