Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ad Spot: Sports and Auto Crossovers

Sports and cars, if you like one there is a good chance you are a fan of the other as well. Take some fast cars and place them on a track and you that becomes a sport even if some will disagree. Either way the two often cross paths including in the ad world. Blake Griffin and Kia certainly come to mind recently. While Kia has certainly benefited from the association with Blake, a few other sports and auto world crossovers leave you deeply confused how the ad is supposed to make you want to buy the product. A couple of tire commercials really struggle to make a meaningful connection to the sports world.

Kumho: Official Tire of the NBA

The ad goes over all the things that you want in your tire that also happen to be things that you want from your favorite players. Still it's a stretch to see how Kumho tires play any role in the NBA and if Kumho tires are any better than other tires.

Bridgestone: Sports Balls Made by Bridgestone

Bridgestone has ran quite a few commercials featuring prominent athletes around a simple question, what if Bridgestone made balls too. In every case the end result is a scary looking ball that is too grippy for its own good and ruins the game much to the player's dismay. Sure the ad emphasizes just how grippy Bridgestone tires are but it does so in a ridiculous way that once again does little to convince that Bridgestone tires are better than the competition. Perhaps it's because I don't have Bridgestone tires but  I have never tore out the turf driving on grass.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Best Designed Model From Every Brand

Some brands have so many well designed models that picking the best is a difficult challenge. Some brands not so much, the challenge becomes picking the least offending design. More often then not though there are a couple of models in each brand that you could make a case for as being the company's best product. A few times an excellent and legendary design has gotten up there in age and has been upstaged by a newer model in the lineup. For the most part this list avoids halo cars as those are essentially default picks for every brand and are too easy of a selection and instead looks for design excellence in more mainstream products.


Monday, April 14, 2014

USCC Long Beach Thoughts

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the most well known and well attended street race in the US and 2014 was no different with multiple race series filling up a weekend of racing. Saturday in particular is a full day with IndyCar qualifying and the Tudor United Sport Car race. As a big fan of Le Mans style racing I attended the race last year and enjoyed the battles on a crowded street circuit. Even with the merger and the end of the ALMS I had high hopes for this year. Unfortunately this would not be the case as the action this year was exciting but not as good as last year. The 20 car combined prototype and GT field proved too small to fully fill up the entire street circuit which eliminated some of the craziness that multi class racing is best known for. Nevertheless it's always great to see and hear some amazing racing machines up close and you can't get much closer than at a street circuit.
  • The equivalence between the Daytona Prototypes and the P2 models might show just a few tenths between the two categories but the P2s were not in contention whatsoever.
  • The #3 Corvette checked out early and was in a class of its own miles ahead of the other GT models.
  • The C7 Corvette sounds just as fantastic as the C6 did before. The Daytona Prototype Corvettes might sound even angrier and louder though.
  • The Skyactiv diesel Mazdas actually sound a bit better than Audi's R18 diesels but are pathetically slow. They look like a quick prototype but couldn't even compete with the GTs. Based on the comments from the crowd the program is negative marketing for Mazda at this point. One managed to blow up within five minutes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Porsche 918 Is Officially Rated by the EPA

The official EPA fuel economy numbers are in for the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder and not unexpectedly it scores quite a bit lower than other plug-in hybrids like the Volt, ELR, Accord and Fusion. Of course  it's not competing with those models but the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and to a lesser degree the BMW i8 have not been rated yet so the comparison set is not perfect. The EPA predicts the 918 Spyder will be good for 12 miles on electricity and will consume it at a rate of 67 MPGe. This actually bests the 11 miles of the Prius Plug-in and just one short of the 13 of the Accord but all others have about double to triple the electric range. For what it's worth the four times I have seen the 918 around town it was always rolling silently on battery power. The 67 MPGe equivalent also trails all other plug-ins aside from Porsche's own Panamera and the Karama. Once the juice runs out the 918 is good for 20 MPG in the city and 24 on the highway as a hybrid, unimpressive for a hybrid until you consider that the gas engine is not a small 4 cylinder Atkinson cycle but rather a high revving 4.6 liter V8 good for 608 horsepower on its own. Still the hybrid numbers are better than the 20/21 that the Fisker managed. While somewhat arbitrary it will be fun to see what the P1 and the LaFerrari end up with if only to see which million dollar hypercar owner will have the most MPG bragging rights.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ad Spot: Buick

Kentucky has caught up and there is a close if low scoring NCAA National Championship game. As one of the premier March Madness sponsors Buick gets to put its name on the official watch anywhere app and buy lots of commercials in the regular broadcast. Unfortunately, Buick is spending all that money on a brand commercial that isn't as good as it should be considering the cash outlay. For unexplained reasons half the people have absolutely zero idea that they are staring directly at a Buick right in front of them. Sure, Buick's lineup is recently refreshed but all of the models have been out for at least a few years with the same general shape and a few of them sell in significant numbers to be pretty common cars on the road. Of course everyone involved is highly impressed by the cars that they see and are shocked to learn that they are Buicks. Certainly the ad aims to get more people to consider a Buick for their next purchase and will get some people to do so but I struggle to see the audience getting really excited about a product that acknowledges its lack of popularity and brand heat. The ad works well enough as a standard primetime TV ad but when you are spending nearly Superbowl type money you would expect something more memorable so people can you know remember your brand.