Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Environmental Disaster = GM Opportunity

With BP's environmental disaster now in the past, GM has reportedly devised a way to turn oil-soaked plastic boom used by the oil giant to soak up the spilled oil into plastic resin that that will be used for under-the-hood parts in the recently released extended range electric Volt.

In a collaborative effort with various companies, Heritage Environmental, who are collecting the used boom, as well as Mobile Fluid Recovery, tasked with eliminating absorbed oil and water with a high-speed drum that spins the booms until they are dry, and Lucent Polymers making the material appropriate for plastic die-mold production, and finally GDC Inc. combining the plastic resin with other plastic compounds to make the car components. The end product is a set of parts (25 percent boom material, 25 percent recycled tires) used to deflect air around the Volt's radiator.

GM will continue to use booms until the recovery process is completed, in approximately two months. Ultimately, the company estimates that its work will result in the upcycling of 100 miles of boom from the Alabama and Louisiana coasts--and produce over 100,000 pounds of plastic resin for Volt components.

Via - Fastcompany

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nativity Story - 2010

The nativity story translated for those born during the digital age. Lots of fun and very nicely executed!

Via - Adverblog

A Safe Holiday - Mercedes Benz

A fun holiday video from Mercedes-Benz wishing everyone a safe and happy Festive Season.

Via - YouTube

Aston Martin & Premium Value-Adds

The four-door Aston Martin Rapide range has recently been updated with a "Luxe" version.

As a value-add to all the purchasers, Aston Martin not only offers a wider range of paint and interior selections, but also allow customers the opportunity to receive a custom-made leather luggage set to match your new pride and joy's interiors.

Sure to leave you in no doubt as to the meaning of traveling in style!

Via - Aston Martin

Mercedes Outside, LV Inside

In a first for Louis Vuitton, the luxury retailer has decided to lend their signature monogram to a Mercedes-Benz G Class.

Too much, surely?

Via - Trendhunter

Luxury Goods & The Irrational Brain - Research

According to a study by Henrik Hagtvedt of Boston College and Vanessa Patrick of the University of Houston to be published in the Journal of Marketing Research, customers who purchase luxury items that don't blend in with either their wardrobe or their home tend not to return these products. Instead, they buy more - usually cheaper - products to complement their new acquisitions. The cost more often than not exceeds that of the original purchase, creating a vicious cycle of consumption.

Over three years, the 125 participants' spending habits for shoes, necklaces and furniture were tracked. Participants were given high-end products from either “designer” labels or from luxury retailers that frequently clashed with their aesthetic tastes. After a period of time, subjects were offered the chance to return the products in exchange for money or to keep the product obtained through the study.

The vast majority of participants opted to keep the luxury goods instead of returning them - and also admitted to buying a host of cheaper items to complement their luxury product.

Via - FastCompany

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hyundai's New Owners Manual

Rather than just providing written information, Hyundai USA has taken advantage of the iPad's capabilties to deliver an app that demonstates to you what it's talking about.

The added advantage of presenting the manual in the form of an app - apart from the obvious value-add for the purchaser in the form of a new iPad with every purchase - is that the the app is free to download on iTunes whether you are an owner or not, thus doubling up nicely as an interactive product brochure for potential buyers too.

Via - Autoblog

Affordable Car Deserves Affordable Ad Campaign

In a novel attempt to highlight the Chevrolet Cruz's low price point, GM decided to go free-hand for the billboard execution and armed an artist with a blue marker and a blank canvas to bring the message to life.

Via - YouTube

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Absolut App Driven By QR

Absolut, the premium vodka brand, has introduced a neck collar incorporating Quick Response (QR) technology, in a bid to distribute its Drinkspiration app to consumers.

Launched in 2009, Absolut Drinkspiration combines mobile technology with social media interaction and user generated content. It is an encyclopaedia of illustrated recipes that allows users to browse drink recipes or receive personalised recommendations based on a variety of preferences such as desired taste, colour, spirit, time of the day, weather, bar vibe, or what is popular.

The initial drive will see QR-tagged neck collars on 200,000 bottles of Absolut and Absolut Naturals in the UK, which will allow iPhone users to download the application instantly and free of charge just by hovering their mobiles over the code.

Via - Marketing Magazine UK

A7 Sportback - Imagination Meets Engineering

Audi UK has launched a multimillion-pound campaign named "imagination meets engineering" for the new A7 Sportback. The commercial uses a symmetrical animation to show the A7 Sportback being conceived in someone’s mind to convey that the car has been engineered just as the designers initially imagined it.

Via - Brand Republic

Hybrid On The Cheap

The 39th richest man in the world, Mikhail Prokhorov, made his billions in finance and precious metal production. The billionaire's latest venture involves spending close to $200 million in an attempt at building and selling petrol electric hybrid vehicles for the Russian market.

The two-door ë-mobile (pronounced "Yo-mobile") will source all of its parts from Russia and former Soviet Union nations, and costing approximately $10,000 when it is released in 2012.

The ultra-cheap hybrid will come standard with a loud engine, negating the need to install extra sound and noise output now required by the US for all hybrid cars for safety purposes, and will achieve a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour, with fuel efficiency said to be around 3,5 litres per 100 kilometres.

Via - Fastcompany

Monday, December 13, 2010

Volvo Fights For Clean Air

Volvo's latest campaign in the UK, “‘Fight for Your Right to Clean Air”, draws attention to the number of premature UK deaths due to poor air quality linked with fossil fuel combustion (approximately 50,000, according to the campaign).

The automaker, taking some responsibility for those deaths, is currently developing an environmental rating system which they hope to implement for every vehicle on the road. It’s also launched petitions to lobby the government, and developed an iPhone app to help you choose the most emissions-neutral car.

According to some automotive insiders, in a few years, Volvo’s cars will be topping these ratings, and the company is essentially building a framework that it’s going to excel in — in effect, seeding a need.

Via - Facebook

Revenge Of The Electric Car

Revenge of the Electric Car is an up-coming documentary that showcases key players driving the electric vehicle (EV) renaissance over the past few years.

The film features exclusive behind-the-scenes access to several large car makers as they work to change the auto industry and offer new electric car options to the general public; including General Motors,
Nissan, the American start-up Tesla Motors, and an independent car converter.

Set for release in 2011, this documentary has the potential to drive the change in perception of eco-friendly alternatives for the future as An Inconvenient Truth did a few years back.

Below is the official trailer:

Mini's Interactive Vending Machine

Mini's latest communication in Canada features an interactive "vending machine" billboard, which was projected onto the side of a building near Toronto's Air Canada Centre.

Cheeky and fun, the execution does well to not only interact with potential buyers of the car, but does a great job at showcasing the various models that Mini now offers to the public.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Smart Clothing By Reebok

Having experimented with apparel and footwear that aims to help athletes in every way in products such as Easytone, Reebok has announced a further partnership with flexible electronics start-up, MC10, to integrate their thin, conformable, and stretchable electronics into future versions of Reebok sportswear.

The technology would enable athletes to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, sweat pH, body impacts, and joint stress. The goal is to provide more data to athletes using embedded sensor arrays that would communicate.

The partnership hopes to bring product to market within 2 years.

Via - Technology Review

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Heineken Retails Whilst Social Networking

Heineken has consolidated it's online presence on Facebook and YouTube and aims to use it's fan base of a million or so Facebook users to sell merchandise directly from the social networking site.

Over and above Heineken branded clothing and other merchandise, the brand will also encourage users to suggest what the brand should offer, making for a more immersive and collaborative experience

Heineken is current finalising plans to standardise its branding globally, too. Having altered its logo design, including moving the star to above the centre of the word 'Heineken', it is now rolling out standardised bottle and can designs to ensure consistency where ever you might be.

Via - Brand Republic Marketing

Italian Exotic Cars vs Callaway Drivers

Lamborghini and Callaway Golf have co-developed a new material to benefit both products. Both the car and the new Callaway Diablo Composite driver uses forged composite carbon to reduce weight and increase speed.

As a demonstration, the two brands have brought together a Gallardo to race a golf drive from Stuart Appleby.

Via - YouTube

Monday, December 6, 2010

Old Navy Tries iPod Touch For POS

The Old Navy chain of stores is testing a mobile retail software called “ZipCheck” in collaboration with Apple that will see the iPod as a handheld POS (Point of Sale).

Store clerks would carry the iPod Touch which will be attached to a barcode reader and credit card scanner and can print receipts wirelessly to in-store printers or to belt-mounted mini-printers that the staff can wear. This allows any customer to avoid the billing queue by simply walking up to a store employee and have them process the transaction and check out.

The future of retail might not be exclusively online after all?

Via - Fastcompany

Jag 75th Birthday Present To Themselves

Jaguar showcased their latest concept car - known as the C-X75 - at the Paris Auto Show earlier this year.

Each wheel on the concept car is currently driven an individual 145kW electric motor which are all powered by one large 19.6kWh lithium ion battery. This system delivers all wheel drive and promises to provide extra control and traction as well as intense torque (0-62 in 3.4 seconds). On a single charge, which takes 6 hours from a conventional household plug to achieve, the C-X75 can travel up to 68 miles with zero emissions.

For extended range Jaguar has equipped the supercar with two 70kW gas powered micro turbines. The turbines can used to quickly recharge the internal battery or can be used in conjunction with the battery to achieve the car's top speed of 205 mph.

Via - Cool Hunting

A7's First & Audi's Largest Billboard

Audi's latest and largest marketing campaign to date is for the 2012 A7, featuring a 10800 square feet of canvas painted with 200 cans of spray paint over 4 days.

The headline reads: "Nothing is more inspiring than a blank sheet of paper. It is the opportunity to create something unique."

Via - Audi

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wish Your Loved Ones Merry Christmas The BMW Way

Get into the Festive Spirit by pretending you are a biker, and a rockstar! Thanks BMW..

Ford Focus To Reuse, Recycle & Reduce

In a conscious effort toward sustainable development and management of its environmental footprint, Ford has announced that it will use recycled clothing for carpet backing and sound absorption materials inside the 2012 Ford Focus, set to be on sale early next year in North America and Europe. The equivalent of two pairs of jeans will be used for each car.

Certain other Ford models will also make use of bio-based materials and non-metal recycled waste to turn into soy foam seat cushions, recycled resins for under-body systems, recycled yarns on seat covers, and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.

Via - CNET

Audi On Solar Drive

Audi is planning to expand the solar panel system at its facility in Ingolstadt so that the electric vehicle's batteries may be charged using clean, renewable energy from the sun.

Audi says it will have nearly 205,000 square feet of its German manufacturing facility's roof covered with the solar cells. The company says that the new installation alone should produce enough electricity to power 180 homes.

The VW subsidiary plans to only use about one third of the electricity produced by its solar system directly at the plant, with the juice going to both charge the company's eTron vehicles and assist in the manufacture of other products. The rest of the energy will likely be fed back into the surrounding power grid.

Via - Audi

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Chevrolet Volt Available For Purchase

As a bit of added PR for the Chevrolet Volt that has entered into the production phase, GM has decided to auction off the first Volt off the production line via an online auction, with all the proceeds going to to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education initiatives in the Detroit Public Schools.

The auction started at $50000 and bidding has already reached $180000. With the winner to be announced on the 14th of December, it looks like the initiative might raise a sizeable sum to further educate tomorrow's thinkers.

GM has also shared a video on some behind the scenes on the making of the Chevrolet Volt.

Via - GM

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

iPad Only Magazine

Richard Branson has beaten other established business leaders in the publication world by launching the first iPad only magazine.

The magazine, called Project, will likely be released on iTunes and will focus on technology, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and promises to be "within shouting distance of the cutting edge."

Via - Fastcompany

Volvo No Longer Wants To Be "Premium"

Volvo should no longer be lumped into the premium category, according to the wishes of CEO Stefan Jacoby.

It's not that the cars aren't good, but according to recent reports in British publication Autocar, Jacoby thinks it sends the wrong message. "It sounds like a pricing strategy, and it's got an expensive ring to it", the Volvo CEO was reported as saying.

Going forward, it would appear that the new brand strategy will see Volvo emphasising its unique Swedishness to stand apart from the competitors in the premium automotive segment. With aggressive targets of 800000 units per year by 2020 penciled in as the benchmarl - double current sales volumes for the brand - a little differentiation can't hurt, surely?

Via - AutoCar

Monday, November 29, 2010

Having Fun & Changing Behaviour

VW's Fun Theory campaign is based on the premise that in order to fundamentally change the way we do things, we need to first experience the alternative - and the best way to get people to actively participate and attempt new things is to offer them a fun way of doing so.

The campaign which broke last year resulted in a massive viral effect and as the culmination of the campaign, VW have identified the winning Fun Theory submission and turned the idea into reality.

This time, the challenge was to make driving the speed limit rewarding, and Richardson's idea was a speed camera lottery - below is the video of the camera in action.

Via - YouTube

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cadillac Concept Runs On Air

Cadillac's Aera Concept is a futuristic 2+2 luxury tourer with a 3D lattice frame structure and a pneumatic drive system running on compressed air.

The Cadillac Aera Concept won the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, tying with Smart and beating entries from seven other auto-manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Maybach.

The GM Advanced Design is said to have won the honor more times than any other design team; with the Aera being GM's third victory since 2005.

Via - Concept & Design Car

How The Rich Plan On Spending This Festive Season

FastCompany surveyed some respected business leaders and trendsetters for their holiday wish lists.

Interesting to see that while luxury is still the name of the game for some, a few others would settle for more philanthropic uses of their money. Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco, for instance have asked friends to make a donation to charitywater.org. Allegedly a $20 donation can give one person clean water for 20 years.

Click here to see the entire slideshow as featured on FastCompany

Audi To Lead Premium EV's By 2020?

By the year 2020, Audi hopes to be the "leading premium seller of electric vehicles," Franciscus van Meel, the automaker's manager for electric mobility, told AutoWeek during a recent technical workshop at the company's headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.

In addition to launching a number of hybrid vehicles (including the A8 and Q5) over the next few years, Audi plans to debut a plug-in hybrid in 2014. Audi's board member for technology, Michael Dick, further added that by 2020, he wants to see the automaker's internal combustion engines improve efficiency by 30 percent, with 5 percent of the brand's lineup to be purely electric.

Commentators believe that the spearhead of Audi's electrical drive will be the Audi e-Tron, which made it's debut in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Via - Auto Week

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

World's First Ice Touchscreen

Nokia brings the world's first ice touchscreen to life.

What started out as a "playful experiment" for Nokia's team has resulted in an interactive device that gives us a glimpse of what can be achieved when it comes to interactivity in the future.

Below is the video, which offers a short explanation of the technology behind the innovation and reminds of the MIT Sixth Sense as featured on TED.

Cool Hunting For GAP

Trend website Cool Hunter has collaborated with retailers GAP to open up a new pop up store in NYC for the up-coming Festive Season.

The store will
feature locally-sourced goods with Cool Hunting set to feature hand-picked items using the same principles—innovative design, artisan craftsmanship, social and environmental consciousness—that mirrors the website's editorial content.

Via - Cool Hunting

Cadillac Concept - Small Yet Luxurius

The Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept , recently unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show, is filled with technology meant to make a car that's no bigger than a Smart Car feel spacious on the inside.

Touchscreens replace all the interior controls, thus allowing the dashboard to be far more compact. To make it easy to enter and exit the car, both doors scissor open.

The car would be powered by a hybrid powerplant: a turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder engine that has brake energy regeneration similar to that in the Prius. According to Cadillac, based on their prototyping models, the car would fetch a fuel economy of 4,2 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 3,6 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway.

Via - Autoblog

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mercedes Benz Attempts To Understand Premium Aesthetics

Mercedes Benz's latest attempt at understanding premium aesthetics saw the German automaker collaborate with a group of scientists equipped with camera-equipped glasses and exposed a few test subjects on a quick walk-around the new CLS.

Below is the video of the "experiment" with some surprise findings on what attracts you to the opposite sex for your interest as well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A New Way For Brands To Use AR - Powered By Google

Google Goggle's visual search app is innovating ahead with marketers in order to turn visual search results into immersive online experiences.

This is especially exciting for brands in a country like SA where back-ends to regular augmented reality campaigns are usually complicated and often prohibitively expensive as Google has done all the work for you!

Via - Fastcompany

Device For Elegant Tyre Changing

Remi van Oers, a student at the Design Academy Eindhoven, came up with a clever solution for those who find tyre changing experiences distinctly un-premium.

A new rethink in car jacking devices resulted in a self-inflating jack that looks like less of a tool than a new Apple device.

It could be a nice value-add for auto-manufacturers to offer as an extra for products that are more female orientated.

Via - Fastcompany

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aston Martin Cygnet Unveiled - At Harrod's

Upscale retailers Harrod's have partnered with another iconic and quintessentially British brand in the form of Aston Martin, with the motor manufacturer unveiling and displaying their latest premium city car in the retailer's shop windows.

The production ready prototype of the Aston Martin Cygnet will remain at Harrod's in London until the 11th of December this year, with final production set for the beginning of 2011.

Via - Luxist

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Premium Lounge The Aston Martin Way

Aston Martin has opened a by-invitations only club at The Prime Society in Singapore's Dempsey Hill neighborhood.

The lounge features custom tables made from authentic Aston Martin wheel-rims as well as large prints of a variety of Aston Martin cars. Elsewhere you’ll find martini glasses named after some of the marque's most famous models and private lockers where members can lock away their personal belongings.

The lounge has also partnered with premium liquor brands such as the Bollinger champagne house (a first in Singapore) while Macallan is the signature whisky at the venue.

Via - Aston Martin Club

iPhone Movies In 3D Made Easy

The clever Japanese have made watching 3-D movies possible anywhere, as long as you have an iPhone/iPod Touch - without the need to wear the embarrassing 3D glasses.

Media artist Jitsuro Mase invented a simple attachment that clips onto your device which instantly gives you the power of 3-D films in the palm of your hand.

Via - Fastcompany

Ralph Lauren Reinvents Fashion Show

We all know that premium brands constantly need to innovate themselves in order to differentiate themselves in order to provide more reasons for people to believe in their brand.

Below are two of Ralph Lauren's latest efforts, which David Lauren, son of Ralph, has described as "game-changing".

The result features Architectural Mapping and augmented reality in order to bring an almost 4D effect for viewers, resulting in an engaging and innovative way of showcasing the brand in a new light.

Via - NY Times

Audi's Potential Supersedan

According to Germany's AutoZeitung, Audi may have plans to make use of the Porsche Panamera platform to produce an all new 4 door super sedan.

Commentators have dubbed the new car as the A9 for now and reports are that the new Audi flagship will be offered with a choice of either rear-wheel drive or the familiar Quattro all-wheel drive setup, the Audi A9 would also be available as a petrol-electric hybrid. The power output could climb to 500 horsepower.

It will be interesting to see whether the new addition to the Audi stable proves it's worth in time, with so many high-end models already being occupied by the likes of the updated A8, as well as the new A7 which is also on it's way.

Via AutoZeitung