by Dan Seitz
Advertising is designed to get our attention by any means necessary. And sometimes those means can rub some people the wrong way...even if they didn't intend to.
#5) Smart Fortwo: No Backseats
We all know the Smart Car as the teeny little car with seemingly no space in it whatsoever, although you might be surprised what people can fit in the little guys if they're feeling creative, or happen to go to IKEA. But they also made a pretty good point in their commercial: if you happen to be in a movie, it's probably not a great idea to have a back seat.
The ad, made up almost entirely of clips offering tribute to cheesy action and horror movies, ruffled feathers because people thought it was too violent, featuring as it did shooting, stabbings, and people getting karate chopped in the neck. These people also lack a sense of humor.
#4) Audi's Green Police
This ad is inherently pretty silly: Audi imagines a world where instead of people guilt-tripping you about your recycling, they'll send swarms of what appear to be cops from "Reno 911!" to your house to drag you away. The ad is full of very silly blink-and-you'll-miss-it touches: for example, pause it at 0:43, and you'll see the Green Police apparently use emission-sniffing...anteaters. It's a satire, of course, intended to emphasize that Audi's diesel cars are earth friendly without being, well, lame.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where people don't understand satire, and controversy erupted among people who genuinely thought Audi was advocating for people who use incandescent lightbulbs to get beaten and hauled off to jail like common criminals. They were probably horrified by this next ad...
#3) Acura Gets In Hot Water...Twice
Acura recently hired two star athletes, Calvin "Megatron" Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Ashleigh McIvor, a gold medal-winning skiier, to star in a similar ad. They start out wearing their athlete's tog, and a crew of speedy assistant strip them down to their skivvies and into elegant outfits.
Acura wanted to make the point that their cars look good but have a lot of muscle, hence the tagline, "Aggression in Its Most Elegant Form."
Instead, they got an earful from people who thought the Johnson ad was racist and the McIvor ad was racy because you saw her bare back.
#2) Dodge Durango Is Big, Really Big
Why, yes, that is about twenty seconds of jokes about the male genitalia. Amazingly, this one actually made it past network standards and practices and made it to air.
#1) Halftime In America
It may seem a little early for us to declare this the most controversial car ad ever, but consider that less than a day after it hit the air, people were immediately arguing back and forth about whether Chrysler had taken out an ad that was for or against bailing out the automotive industry, and that it took Clint Eastwood himself to stop whatever he was doing, go on Fox News, and give everybody an old-fashioned tongue lashing before they stopped squabbling about it.
If it's so controversial it takes the Man with No Name to clear it up, that ranks number one with us.
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by Chris Martin
Americans love their sports like few other nations do. They also cherish the concept of democracy. So you would think that U.S. sports leagues would be bending over backwards to accommodate the fans and give them what they want.
And yet, we're still stuck with baseball's designated hitter, NBA referees' special treatment of star players, and the NFL's ban on certain end zone celebrations.
That's why it's always refreshing to hear a story about a sports league heeding the wishes of the fans. So let's hear a big round of applause for NASCAR, the governing body of U.S. stock car racing, who addressed fans' concerns about two-car tandem racing.
With the circuit's first big race of the season, the Daytona 500, coming up on February 26, NASCAR announced that it would be making some changes based on input from many racing fans. Earlier this month, NASCAR revealed that about 80 percent of fans surveyed did not like the racers' reliance on two-car tandems during races at Daytona Speedway. This occurs when pairs of cars "team up"; one car runs right behind another for a stretch, and then the two switch positions. This tandem ultimately helps both cars reduce wind resistance, conserve fuel, and achieve higher speeds.
But fans at Daytona weren't crazy about these tandems. They told NASCAR that they prefer "pack racing" where numerous cars are running near each other in a small area. They also want to see their favorite driver win the race by himself (or herself, with this year's addition of former Indy car racer Danica Patrick to the field) instead of getting help from a competitor.
In response, NASCAR tweaked the cars to effectively discourage two-car tandem racing. Engineers altered the settings on the vehicles' pressure relief valves. They moved up the cars' radiator inlets. And they adjusted the rear angles on the racecars. Circuit officials said that the racing teams seemed happy with the modifications.
However, two-car tandems won't disappear entirely. Instead, NASCAR says that the changes will promote a mixture of pack racing and tandem styles in order to appeal to the many fans who don't mind that approach. That way, spectators can enjoy a variety of styles without sacrificing the every-racer-for-himself mentality.
In any case, NASCAR fans spoke, and the league listened. That in itself should come as good news to the millions of loyal NASCAR fans in America - most of whom will be watching the 2012 Daytona 500.
Images: indyagenda.com, thingstheyshouldinvent.com, usatoday.com, stead
Tags: safeauto, safe auto, auto insurance, insurance, automotive, car, car insurance
The New England Patriots and the New York Giants are set to square off Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI. Most of the attention centers around the game itself, but there are actually dozens of events that take place in and around the host city during the two weeks prior to the contest. And since the 2012 Super Bowl will be the first big game ever played in Indianapolis, the city is taking the opportunity to combine football with another sport that has made Indy famous: auto racing.
As a result, Indianapolis has partnered with the National Football League and Indy Racing Experience to achieve something that has never been done before for the Super Bowl. The 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee has commissioned the creation of 33 "Super Cars" which were unveiled on Friday, January 27 in downtown Indianapolis. These vehicles are Formula 1 race cars, each of which has been decorated in the colors and logos of one of the NFL's 32 teams - plus another car that has been emblazoned with the Super Bowl XLVI logo and colors.
These Super Cars were on display last weekend at the same downtown site, and were then moved en masse to the International Motor Speedway on Tuesday. But each of these vehicles will be transported to a different location for display starting Thursday and running through Super Bowl Sunday.
Some of the cars will be shown in other cities in Indiana, such as Anderson, Fishers, Greenwood, Greenfield, Carmel, Noblesville, Columbus, Bloomington, Plainfield, Muncie, Lafayette, Shelbyville, and Zionsville. Others will be stationed at landmarks within Indianapolis itself, such as the Indianapolis Children's Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis International Airport, Dallara IndyCar Factory, and City Market - as well as malls and other gathering places. One car will remain at the speedway, but the Super Bowl XLVI car and the two cars representing the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will be on display at the Super Bowl Village. (The full list can be found here.)
In addition, the Super Bowl Host Committee will be partnering with Foursquare, the popular smartphone app, in conjunction with the Super Cars. The app will allow fans to "check in" at the Super Car locations and receive additional rewards and prizes. This will also give fans a chance to explore different areas of the Indianapolis metro area to view each car and get their picture taken alongside them.
Not everyone can go to the Super Bowl game itself. But the Super Cars allow Indianapolis residents and sports fans without game tickets to enjoy the pageantry and color of Super Bowl XLVI -- Indy style.
Tags: car, car insurance, auto insurance, safeauto, safe auto
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