Celebrities in Auto Ads

Many car companies these days use celebrities to endorse their car. In the last year I’ve seen Mathew McConaughey in a Lincoln ad, Eminem bumping in a Chrysler, Jennifer Lopez in a Fiat 500, Madonna in a BMW in some strange music video featuring Clive Owen, and Brad Pitt’s interesting Cadillac endorsement that majorly featured in China. Ads today are vastly different to ads printed in the early auto years due to the change in focus of the ad over time. I compared McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial to the 1960 Pontiac print ad.

The 1960 Pontiac print ad features the car parked at some sort of golf club. Note the golfers in the back and nicely dressed ladies and gentleman along side the car.

Pontiac1960

“Fresh, crisp beauty for 1960”. Not often do you hear of a new style of car being described as “fresh” or “crisp”. They bring in the feelings that one would feel when being on a freshly cut golf course and present it to you with the car so you associate those feelings with the Pontiac. In many marketing schemes, green is associated with wealth and is often used to relax customers in stores. Red creates urgency and gives you, the customer, a sense of urgency that could make you feel as if you need it sooner. Blue is often used to create a sense of security and safety. Banks often use this color to make their customers feel those feelings and associate them along with their bank. This ad of the Pontiac instills safety and security, urgency, and a sense of wealth.

Lincoln used none of these tactics to reel in customers. Instead they used the familiar face of a celebrity; Mathew McConaughey. They used his face to bring forth feelings of familliarity. Just as politicians endorse other politicians, often called bandwagoning, car companies use celebrities to endorse their cars for support. The juvenile and simple thought is, “If they like the celebrity, and see them driving the car; the customer will like the car and want to drive it themselves!’.

matthew-mcconaughey-1-1024

Is using the familiarity of celebrities may seem to be a successful tactic however classic ads such as the 1960 Pontiac uses much more than familiarity. Classic ads use colors and senses to gain the trust of the customer. I see no celebrities in the Pontiac ad, and I see no colors in the Lincoln ad. No where in the Lincoln ad does it talk about the features or the price or the engine, the ad simply shows McConaughey along side it. Personally I would rather see the brand personality on an ad similar to the Pontiac, but I don’t see car companies using print ads such as this one anytime soon.

http://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/ – Marketing strategies in ads

http://www.autotrader.ca/newsfeatures/20141111/slideshow-top-ten-celebrity-car-commercials/#9HBv6DYrLFBrzAyS.97 – Celeb Ads in the auto industry

http://www.academia.edu/4591701/Celebrities_in_Advertising – Celebs in Advertising

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James Bond is a Roll Tide fan

Supercars are (almost) everyone’s dream to own and drive. The power. The speed. A good excuse to disregard fuel economy. There is also the appeal that comes with driving the same car as James Bond or the like. Aston Martin has noticed that American sales have up ticked, and are now considering a plant in the supercar capital of America…Alabama?…
Aston Martin

Wait. Alabama is known more for lifted trucks and yelling at people on Sundays for not being in church, than for $100,000+ luxury vehicles. Why would they choose Alabama as their first plant? It could be that the executives in London are Roll Tide fans down deep, but I think it may be slightly more strategic.
In 1997 Mercedes-Benz opened a plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and most recently have produced the Mercedes C-Class at that plant. Fast forward to 2014, the parent company of the German luxury auto maker purchased a 5% stake Aston Martin. As a part of the deal Mercedes would also provide engines and electrical components to Aston Martin. So the addition of a plant in Alabama by the Bond brand would make a decent bit of sense as the two makers could exchange parts easily.

What is more striking about the placement of the plant; Alabama does not require the use of Union only workers. The Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa is not unionized and in fact Mercedes recently got in trouble for antiunion practices. The United Autoworkers union has tried for some time to unionize the Tuscaloosa plant with little success. I would fully expect the UAW to try the same with the new workers of Aston Martin.
The decision by Aston Martin to go to Alabama instead of Michigan is just another blow to the deteriorating Rust Belt and more specifically Detroit. The UAW is in dire need of an increase of membership as they are down to a mere 319,000 because jobs have moved out of the union requiring states and even the country. It seems that the automakers no longer want anything to do with the Unions if it is possible to avoid them.

Jalopnik AutoCar Mercedes

Distraction

3-mercedes-lounge-seating

When taking a ride in my dad’s new car, he began to show me the newest installations of technology in the newest model of the same model he has had for years. He could open the windows by tapping his key, access the internet from the visual display screen, and utilize the control button as a track pad amongst many other new additions. I felt as if I was in the Apple store looking at the newest iPhone update. Are these high tech modifications necessary to improve our ability to drive safer on the road, or are they unnecessary additives that make cars more expensive and distracting?

Bankrate reports on Mercedes-Benz’s plans to feature a variable seating system.

It features four rotating lounge chairs that allow you to sit face to face. The car is hypothetically designed to drive itself. “The mobile lounge”, the project however, is officially named F015 “Lounge in motion”. The doors open differently than a conventional car, similar to double doors in a conference room. They signify power and entrance. The f015 continues to resemble a car with similar features in the cars we see today such as headlights, air-tires, windows, sky roof. But lacks in practical “universal” features such as a trunk, carpetry and interior, cup holders, rear-view mirrors, etc.

The F015 makes a large leap into the future and appears to be a business meeting vehicle. The people in the photo are analyzing charts and numbers dressed in business attire clothing. There are no children in this car, which leads me to believe that this car isn’t meant for a family at all. Mercedes-Benz has a great idea going for them, however highly impractical and will most likely be very expensive. If you’re going to face eachother in the car, and drive on auto, why don’t you meet in a conference room where you can put numbers on a screen? The auto has become a solice of luxury and less of a means of transportation and Mercedes-Benz proves that with the F015.

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/high-tech-car-innovations-3.aspx

http://www.cnet.com/pictures/mercedes-benz-luxury-in-motion-concept-the-mobile-lounge-pictures/15/

https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/innovation/research-vehicle-f-015-luxury-in-motion/

Can you give me a Lyft?

“Real people driving real people.” The motto of a recently new business in the ride-sharing industry. Similar to Uber, lyft is a taxi-alternative, privately owned company, based out of major US cities. There is one big difference between Lyft and Uber: Lyft’s drivers are regular community members driving their own cars. Lyft is no different from calling a friend and asking for a ride, except the person giving you a ride is a stranger who you are paying. The company is app-based with a simple three-step process. 1) Request a ride, 2) Get picked up, 3) Get there fast. There is another interesting factor to Lyft, and that is the additional option of riding with another passenger going the same way for a reduced price. Much like sharing a taxi with a stranger, Lyft brings ride sharing to a new level.

Concerns have been raised, and of course with those concerns come problems and lawsuits. Many people find grey area’s in Lyft’s regulation, “Although ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft don’t see much need for regulation, and some regulators say the services are violating current law, the disputes indicate that a powerful market is emerging where no one is quite sure what the rules are. Court cases like the one the district attorneys filed in LA could help define them, and legislators probably will face increasing pressure to provide clarification of their own”.

Lyft, Uber, and SideCar share commonalities between companies. All private, all apps, all new innovative ways of public transportation. Personally, I find Lyft a little too personal. It leaves drivers and the company very liable and susceptible to problems. I don’t like seeing the drivers personal items all over the car, if I wanted to get a ride from a friend I would ask one. Uber provides a comfortable experience with the added promise of reliability and just the right amount of professionalism that Lyft lacks.

http://www.quora.com/Ride-Sharing-Company-Comparisons/Which-is-better-and-why-Lyft-Uber-or-SideCar

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-uber-lyft-20141209-story.html

Real Life Video Game? (Drive-by-wire)

Imagine getting in a car and driving it like you would fly an airplane in a video game arcade (or real life if you are a fighter pilot).  This is a very possible scenario in the near future for vehicles, as airplanes have used this technology since the 1990’s, and “the first test of a Digital Fly-By-Wire (DFBW) system was in 1972 on a modified F-8 Crusader” (NASA).  The technology being tested for cars is called drive-by-wire or by-wire.  By-wire relies on electronics to control multiple vehicular operations like accelerating, braking, and turning.

362852main_ECN-3276_3x4_226-170F-8 Crusader using DFBW

Cars of today are mechanically driven.  Vehicles use hydraulically driven technology, and mechanical drive shafts to perform basic driving operations.  These systems work, but they are very complex.  These systems also have multiple moving parts which causes wear and tear over time, even if proper maintenance is kept.  Even though cars drove mechanically without much electronic technology a hundred years ago, engineers have continuously worked to incorporate computers and multiple electronic items into the cars of today and continue to do so.

By-wire technology would make cars more comfortable, safe, and better functioning once drivers become accustomed to the new way of driving.  By-wire driving relies on computers and sensors to relay information and instruct the vehicle on what to do.  This technology also has environmental positives as well.  By-wire technology could improve fuel economy and reduce engine emissions, since it would not use as much power to perform the same tasks as traditional mechanical driving needs.

By-wire technology does not need as much energy because it would reduce the weight of vehicles significantly, because it reduces the number of bulky moving parts needed to hydraulically drive the vehicle.  It also increases the accuracy of operations performed by the car itself, and reduces the amount of routine maintenance needed for mechanical purposes.

One argument against by-wire is that any system has the ability to fail regardless of testing.  The worst case scenario that Howstuffworks.com presents is sensors on a brake-by-wire make a calculation error and apply the wrong amount of pressure on brakes and the vehicle either stops too late or too soon causing an accident.  Knowing how airplanes work, it is possible to use braking systems of cars today and use by-wire for steering and accelerating.

Found at: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/drive-by-wire2.htm

Also used: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/FactSheets/FS-024-DFRC.html#.VTqHXZTF92A for NASA quote and picture

GM’s Attempts at Environmentally Friendly Vehicles

Car companies today are being pushed harder and harder to protect the air and make cars more fuel efficient so that less gas is used, or a different type of power is being used.  General Motors (GM) has made attempts in all of the major categories to make cars that are more environmentally friendly.  They have made more fuel efficient cars, hybrids, electric, light electrification, biofuels, and hydrogen.

GM has 25 vehicles that have an EPA of at least 30 mpg on the highway in todays lineup.  GM wants to design, build and sell the best vehicles with the environment in mind.  GM engineers are developing technologies leading to better fuel economy and reducing emissions.  GM’s hybrid, the Chevy Volt, gets an estimated 98 MPG on electricity, 35 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway using gas.  Customers have reported going more than a month between filling up with a daily commute of less than 35 miles, with regular charging.  The average volt owner travels 81 percent of the time on pure electricity.  Light electrification is a solution that enhances fuel efficiency of up to 25 percent when paired with GM’s existing engines.  The process involves an electric motor recapturing energy and shutting of fuel when braking.  These engines also shuts-off and restarts the engine in city driving (stop-and-go).

In terms of non-petroleum engines, GM has a pure electric car, the Chevrolet Spark EV, and has cars using biofuels.  They are also working on hydrogen fuel cells.  The Chevy Spark, is sold in Oregon and California.  It goes 0-60 in 7.6 seconds and puts out 400 lbs. per foot of torque.  It gets 82 miles of range, and can have an 80 percent charge in less than 20 minutes.  GM believes that biofuels are the most significant near-term solution to reducing the dependence upon petroleum and carbon dioxide emissions.  GM is the world leader in producing FlexFuel (vehicles that operate on both petroleum and E85 ethanol) and offer more models.  GM is also still working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; customers drove over three million miles in the test vehicle fleet, and GM is using their feedback to improve upon the cars.

I believe GM is making great strides towards building the cars of the future.  I think this will help them to get out of the hole that they were and are in, both before, and after, the government bailouts.  I think hydrogen fuel cells will have a major part in determining what the future holds for the consumer in terms of the vehicles they drive.  I also think electric cars are gaining a foothold; however I do not believe that it will last, unless the range of these cars increases or it becomes faster and easier to gain a charge on them.  I would like to drive the Spark, just to see how it holds up against the sports cars of today.

chevrolet-spark

2015 Chevrolet Spark

3 for 5

How stuff works is a website that provides information on multiple topic including, cars, culture, and environment.  Under the “auto” tab, there is a slideshow article that was over 5 future car technologies that might have a chance at working.  The five that are in “5 Future Car Technologies That Truly Have a Chance” are: 1.) Cars That Communicate with Each Other and the Road, 2.) Self-driving Cars, 3.) Augmented Reality Dashboards, 4.) Airbags That Help Stop Cars, and 5.) Energy-storing Body Panels.  Christopher Neiger wrote the article, and I think that four of the five technological advances listed could work, but in my blogs, I am looking at technologies that advance the auto industry and could potentially be in “future cars.”

I do not see self-driving cars become a reality for the everyday driver.  I think there is too much extra things that would have to be put into these cars making them affordable only to the wealthy.  I also do not see them catching on in the “Heart of America.”  People in this region like to drive their own cars and do not want technology to have control over whether they make it to where they are going or drive off in a ditch.  I also only see cars that communicate with the road and other cars only catching on in major cities, and I think they would be great to help traffic flow and make city driving less dangerous and chaotic.  In the Midwest, there is no need for them.  The number of cars in the middle of the country wan in comparison to the big cities on the East and West coasts.

Some of the technologies listed by How Stuff Works, have a less technologically advanced form already on the market.  Toyota has sonar in some cars (Prius for example).  Toyota’s sonar sends out wavelengths that bounce of the car in front and determine how far ahead that car is.  With the push of a button and cruise control, the car will stay that distance behind the car ahead; this is great for interstate/major-highway driving.  This sonar can also will also start to apply the brakes if you get to close; it may not necessarily keep a driver out of an accident, but it will slow the car down, making the collision less dangerous.  There are multiple car companies that have the technology to keep you in the lane you are driving in.  The car detects the line and if you drift of, the car corrects itself.  I believe this to be the start of the movement towards driverless cars.  The Augmented Reality Dashboard is really a cool thing, but is merely an advanced form of the Heads-Up Display (HUD) that many cars have, like GMC’s Acadia.  The airbags that help stop cars use technology that is already existing to raise the car and help improve safety.

I believe that Augmented Reality Dashboards (AR) are something that can really help drivers, and allow traffic to move at higher rates, which brings up a whole new argument.  Engineers are developing AR to be able to identify objects in front of a vehicle and tell the driver how far away that object is.  The AR, like HUD, will overlay information on top of what the driver sees through the windshield.  If approaching too quickly a red box might appear, the AR would also tell you how to move into a different lane before you collide with the car in front.  The AR also has a GPS that will show were the car is and where to turn without the driver ever having to take his/her eyes of the road.

Mercedes is experimenting with airbags to help make cars safer.  The idea behind airbags helping to stop cars is this: raise the car and slow the car down.  The airbags would be deployed when the car sensors determine that a crash is inevitable.  The airbags use friction to slow the car down before impact.  They also raise the car up to eight centimeters, countering the nose-dive motion when “slamming on the brakes,” allowing more of a bumper-to-bumper contact.  It also helps to keep passengers from sliding under their seat belts during a collision.

Finally maybe the most important piece of technology for the future of the automobile is exists in energy storing body panels.  Exxon Mobile predicts that half of production cars will be hybrid.  This is great for the environment, but the problem is the energy for the cars.  The batteries in hybrids are very heavy and use a lot of space.  Even with the advances in batteries, the weight of hybrids depends significantly on their battery.  Hybrid batteries become charged when the engine is using gas.  This is wear body panels that can store energy can help to reduce the weight and use less of the gas to charge the battery.  In Europe a group of nine auto manufacturers are researching and testing panels that can store energy and charge faster than the conventional batteries in use today.  “The panels that are being tested, are made of polymer fiber and carbon resin that are strong enough to be used in vehicles and pliable enough to be molded into panels,” says Christopher Neiger, which potentially could reduce the weight of the car by up to fifteen percent.  These panels get the energy they store from technologies like regenerative braking or simply the car being plugged in.  These panels will store the energy and feed it back to the car when it is needed.    These panels would make the car lighter, therefore making it more efficient (eliminating wasted energy needed to pull the extra weight), and help to reduce the side of the hybrid batteries.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/trends-innovations/5-future-car-technologies.htm#page=5