Posts tagged video
Citroen have released a set of new videos to showcase the new DS4 crossover vehicle. It looks like a massive coupe but it has five doors and a high ride height. It has lots of headroom, like an MPV, but less bootspace than the C4 it is based on, and the spiky rear windows don’t open.
So we get why Citroen have decided to play the “non-conformist” card and brag about how their car breaks the mould. What mystifies me slightly more is their choice of videos to illustrate their point. Let’s have a look at them:
A man parkours down a flight of steps in a dingy warehouse with a DS4 at the bottom.
Five years ago, you might have accepted this, but free-running went mainstream a long while ago.
A DS4 is parked in a dingy warehouse. A video installation of abstract, rapidly changing images is projected onto its side.
Definitely not. I think if I were an artist working in the medium of video, I would be quite upset by this. There is no originality to the set-up – in fact it is a hackneyed stereotypical installation.
Some DS4s are in a dingy warehouse. A striking young lady walks past the cars and some floodlights in a succession of edgy outfits of various styles.
Well this is a fashion show. A standard fashion set-up. Once again Citroen are using a stereotypical interpretation of a creative discipline to illustrate how subversive and ‘different’ they are.
A dingy warehouse. A man retrieves a drum from the boot of the DS4 (The only shot of the interior). More drummers join him in a demonstration of traditional rhythms and percussive noise. The man replaces his drum in the boot.
Well I will give you this, Citroen – it isn’t mainstream music. But it is traditional. It is non-conformist in the same way that Morris Dancing is. Is that what you are going for? Perhaps it is.
I find these videos rather disappointing, because they have ultimately taught me nothing about the car, and the message they are intended to convey is hopelessly lost in the lazy and unimaginative way they have been executed.
Mercedes have taken an (almost) entirely new direction with the new A Class. In a stark departure from the twin-floor, high roof layout of its W168 and W169 predecesssors, which fit the cabin space of an E-Class into the floor space of a Ford Ka, the new car is going for more mainstream appeal.
Designated the W176, the new A-Class is pitched squarely at the VW Golf segment, taking on not just the Golf, but the A3, 1-Series and other premium family hatches. Aimed at 30-40 year old professionals, some have said, that it looks a lot like an Opel Corsa. In fairness it is quite a good looking car. Fans of the old A-Class may prefer the new W246 B-Class which has the twin floor high-box design, although.
I think Mercedes Benz are running a real risk in changing the type of car that the name refers to, although I’m sure a Golf-sized product makes perfect sense in their range, and it may be that, at least in part, this decision came about as a result of the well publicised difficulties they had in securing partners for the A-Class project.
To introduce the W176, Mercedes have released this interesting ad, featuring Jessica Stam, who, I am told, is no relation to Jaap, the Dutch centre-half. Apparently she is Canadian, in fact. She appears to have become lost in an industrial estate on a Sunday, but fortunately she is able to scoot under a garage door and hug an A-Class for warmth.
Car Magazine currently has more information than appears on the MB site, whereas Autocar whets our appetite for a 2013 debut of the AMG version of the new A Class, featuring four wheel drive and 320bhp of fun.
Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire is, perhaps, one of the less well-known motorsport venues in the UK, but it is undoubtedly one of the most important. In fact the Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb is the world’s oldest motorsport event, continually staged at its original venue since 1905.
Hillclimbing, as it is practised in the UK, is a quintessentially British form of motorsport, as well as being one of the most entertaining for spectators – and you can find all kinds of vehicles and drivers taking part. That is a big part of what makes this film, taken by Rich Danby, so compelling.
The concept is quite simple, time-lapse footage of a day in the life of Shelsley Walsh, but the execution is top-notch. Enjoy.
Unless you’re an obsessive EU-rophile, you’ve probably not noticed the recent publication of the ‘Transport 2050 Roadmap’, or to give it its catchier title – “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – White Paper on a Sustainable and Competitive Transport.”
It really isn’t riveting stuff, I’m afraid, but it is something that petrolheads need to pay attention to, as this is the document that is proposing to ban gas-fuelled cars from all European cities by 2050.
Now before you shout me down as a luddite, I’m totally in favour of clean vehicles, whether electrically powered, or using fuel-cells. By then even low-temperature fusion may be a viable means of propulsion.
But a blanket ban would do a massive disservice to anyone who loves old cars.
In 1900 almost all city transport was horse-drawn. The worry at the time (because there is always an environmental catastrophe just around the corner), was that the volume of horses required to keep the cities flowing would lead to food shortages as the horses ate more and more of the crops produced and massive volumes of manure piling up daily would lead to London being buried under nine feet of horse poo.
This seems laughable now of course, because we know now that the nascent technology of internal combustion obviated the need for horse-drawn technology within a couple of decades, all without any need for legislation or coercion.
The same will be true of electric cars.
Right now they are expensive, high-maintenance beasts with limited range. Their sex-appeal is severely limited, because ‘fun’ driving wears down the batteries even further. And yet, in the next decade or two, the high price of oil will inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of petrol- and diesel-powered cars on our roads, particularly in the cities, where charging points will be plentiful, and journeys short. Of course, another technology may well outdo electric – in 1900 both steam and electric power looked equally likely to replace the horse as petrol.
But just as no-one has ever banned horses from our city centres, banning oil burning cars from cities will be an unnecessary piece of legislation, that will only succeed in frustrating future hobbyists and classic car enthusiasts. Already London makes exceptions to its Low Emission Zones to allow classic vehicle rallies to take place, and keep the tourist-friendly Routemaster buses on their ‘heritage’ routes.
Are the EU saying that children of the future will have to travel out to the depths of the countryside to see, hear and smell the vehicles their grandparents drove? Will you have to move out of the city if you want to own a classic car?
The EU’s aims in this are laudable – regardless of your view on global warming, cleaner air benefits everybody – but legislating the solution is counterproductive.
Their video is worth a quick view though, as the last few seconds have a Futurama-style (the GM one, rather than Matt Groening) transport hub of the future.
You can find out some interesting facts and figures on EU transport issues, or get the whole whitepaper, if that kind of thing floats your boat.
If you feel strongly about this, let your local MEP know. Other craziness includes letting the government pick the vehicles that commercial fleet buyers are allowed to buy.
Goodyear are coming for you and I’m not sure what they have planned…
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I’ve seen this ad, produced by Sussex Safer Roads partnerships, three times in the last few days, so the chances are, you may have already seen it too. But the message it shares is so important, and the method of delivery so subtle, mouldbreaking and inspired, that if even one more person sees it and passes it on, it is worthwhile to share again.
It is called ‘Embrace Life’ and its sole purpose is to persuade you to always wear a seatbelt. You’d think that would be easy, given the proportion of car occupant fatalities who didn’t belt up, but the problem, which I’ve just illustrated is that to get the message across you have to talk about death, injury and crashes. And when you do that, people switch off. No-one thinks it will happen to them. And even having seen a graphic portrayal of the gruesome results of failing to clunk-click, the intended recipient of the message has dissociated the ad from their own life.
What this film does, is to come at the problem from a different angle, and with an impact that is emotional without being scary or sensational. I think the experience may vary from person to person, some may cry, others may feel uplifted, but I defy anyone not to be moved in some way.
Daniel Cox, the writer-director has this to say:
“It was central to the development of the project that we root the concept of wearing a seat belt firmly in the family domain, and create the advert so that it could be viewed by anyone of any age. Children are so important as opinion formers within their family that we felt it imperative to have a child take a pivotal role in relaying our message. One key aspect to the storytelling is that we developed Embrace Life to be non-language specific, so that the message wouldn’t become lost when viewed by visitors to, or residents of, the UK where English might not be their first language.”
I’ve waffled enough. Watch the ad.
And whilst there is no doubt that the riskiest group of drivers on the road are the young, it is also true to say that elderly people pose a statistically higher risk to insurance companies than those in their middle age. They are, though, categorically much less dangerous than young drivers, and given this, it is surprising how hard it can be for older drivers to arrange insurance.
Many companies appear to be fearful of health-related issues causing accidents, and there are a number of other factors that appear to be at work. Premiums can be pushed up for all older drivers as slowly worsening reactions and the onset of old age result in, usually minor, bumps and knocks. But premiums shoot up faster for women.
Why is this? In many cases women suddenly take up the majority of driving after years of occasional use, when they lose their partner, or if he suffers health issues. Ladies also have longer lifespan and better health on average are also more likely to have a part time job, volunteer and socialise, which puts them on the road more.
All of this, though, should not stop an older driver from obtaining a competitive insurance quote, and although reports suggest that many mainstream companies are not offering insurance to over 80s, or even over-65 year-olds, there are competitive quotes available and we are able to offer and older drivers insurance quote for as long as you are able to safely drive.
And though younger drivers are much riskier, the unfair stereotypes of older drivers and women drivers being dangerous persist. Don’t look now, but, I think I’ve found the culprit:
Although everyone seems to be talking about Google’s superbowl advert, another ad that received its premiere outing last night was the latest from Audi. Now, in Europe, Audi aren’t really perceived as a ‘fun’ brand, and their ads tend to be somewhat portentous, with a focus on patents, technology and innovation – Vorsprung Durch Technik and all that.
But American audiences knew they were in for a treat when this teaser spot appeared (And yes, that does mean that superbowl ads are big enough to have their own ads!)
Yes, the Green Police are here, and, with tongue seemingly planted in cheek, they are going to stop you from breaking the planet. Unless you own an Audi A3 turbodiesel.
I love all the attention to detail in this ad, as it simultaneously pokes fun at the green movement, the law enforcement community and US reality TV all married to a Gillette-esque Power Jingle. Despite this it manages not to undermine the environmental messages. And compared to the petrol-engined gas-guzzlers favoured by the American people, a TDi is ultra-green. So much so the the A3 TDi is the current Green Car of the Year (beating the Prius and Insight, presumably on the grounds that normal folk might buy it).
BMW have announced, at a glitzy shindig in New York, a brand new art car, which will add to the 17 already made by artists including Roy Lichtenstein’s 320i, Andy Warhol’s M1 and Ernst Fuchs 635CSi, as well as the 3 litre CSL by Frank Stella above.
BMW have caused quite a stir this time, by selecting Jeff Koons, the American artist to adorn an as yet unknown Bimmer. Koons may well be best known for producing works like the gilded statue of Michael Jackson and Bubbles, and the giant Mylar balloon animals that adorn his website, but he is also capable of wielding a brush with some flair, and the finished project, expected in will be worth the wait. Several of his works, such as Winter Bears, are in the Tate Collection, and is well worth a look, if you are near London or Liverpool.
Some have questioned Koons’ appointment, describing his work as kitsch and sensationalist, and it is fair to say that if you think ‘Modern Art is Rubbish,’ he won’t change your mind.
But in celebrating the seemingly banal and worthless, his work can help us to appreciate those things in life which bring us moments of joy, even though others may consider them garish, vulgar and ugly.
And isn’t that exactly what BMW want to sell us?
Nestling high in the Pyrenees, the sleepy town of Puigcerdà lies just on the Spanish side of the mountainous border with France. The locals, though, will tell you they are Catalonian, and this spirit of independence has recently led the town government to make an interesting decision.
In this country we often moan that the fines and taxes we are asked to pay do not get re-invested in the road network, but the Catalans have come up with an altogether different use for the money they have raised from parking and traffic fines in the town.
“People have the perception that the fines are only to collect, and we want to prove with facts in the case of Puigcerdà this is not so.” claims mayor Joan Planella, “The idea we came up to us when we asked ourselves what we could do to boost civic engagement.”
So what is their brainwave? Simple the haul of fines will be divided up equally between all the local drivers who have managed to avoid being caught doing something they shouldn’t. It does not look like this bonanza will be rivalling the famous ‘El Gordo’ lottery, though, as estimates suggest only a tenner or so per exemplary resident.
Even so, this is possibly the first time motor laws have attempted to use a carrot as well as a stick, and it will be worth seeing how this works out in the years to come.
But I don’t hold out much hope for this Spanish driver getting his cash…