August 13, 2009 • 1:24 pm 1
Need I say more?
August 6, 2009 • 4:27 am 1
Way back in March I wrote a piece discussing BMW’s Project-i. In it (you can read it here), I roused on BMW for taking such a high-minded approach in describing the project.
I also suggested that if they wanted to provide new forms of popular (as in “for the people”) urban transport, the wonderful Isetta brand was ripe for the picking, leaving the precious BMW unimpeached.
Lo and behold, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer has just announced that the vehicular outcomes of Project-i will be marketed under a sub-brand called… well, we still don’t know for sure yet. But take a look at the wonderfully feel-good, BMW-produced video above and there’s no prize for guessing what it will be.
August 5, 2009 • 1:40 am 0
Came across this guide to design brief writing yesterday on the Design Sojourn blog.
Given you guys have got a brief due next week, some of the advice here might help you to round things out a bit.
Brian covers the following:
- Creating an elevator pitch (which we’ll actually be covering in your Strategy for Commercialisation Project)
- Establishing a hierarchy of needs
- Communicating the key benefits you expect to implement
- Establishing the context of your design project
- Detailing your production methods
Read the full post here and follow Design Sojourn’s author, Brian (an award winning industrial designer and strategist working with asian electronics manufacturers from Singapore and Sydney), on Twitter @designsojourn
[As a disclaimer, this info shouldn't replace what we've talked about in the lectures. Just use it to broaden your knowledge of the art of writing a brief, hmmkay?]
August 5, 2009 • 1:13 am 1
Time for some gratuitous (and somewhat NSFW) video content.
I’ve been bobbing my head to this mighty fine take on Lady Gaga’s Poker Face for a while now, but I’ve only just come across the beautiful, cinematically slick film clip thanks to NewWork. It’s almost Felliniesque (massive call, I know) in that you could grab most frames and they’d be beautiful images in their own right.
Totally made my morning. Now, if only somebody could tell me what the the lovely turbine-lamped cabriolet is, my day will be complete. Over to you, fellow carspotters…
[Update: The killjoys at YoutTube won't let me embed the video, so click on through to watch it there]
[Update 2: Thanks to @michaelbanovsky (you can read his excellent auto writing here), we've now solved the mystery of the sweet blue cab. It's a Dodge Dart GT, a '64 by the looks of the grille. I can sleep easy now!]
August 2, 2009 • 2:24 am 2
Up until now, confusion has reigned supreme regarding Ford’s positioning of the new is-it-premium-or-isn’t-it Taurus and how it relates to the Lincoln/Mercury ranges.
Well be confused no longer because the online ad campaign for the new car, going live on August 4, pits the new EcoBoosted sedan against… the Lexus LS460!
In a move that’s sure to mightily upset the brand guardians at Lincoln and Mercury (if indeed there are any…), the campaign gives a blow-by-blow account of how the butch sedan bests the behemoth from Japan, along with the Audi A6, Infiniti M45X and Acura RL, while being up to three times cheaper.
The Detroit News quotes Jim Hall, an analyst at 2953 Analytics LLP as saying the approach is “smart and necessary”. “None of the cars in its segment have these features… when people think of your car as more upscale than it is, it’s only going to help you when they see the price.”
Indeed! Why bother with less well equipped Mercury or an overpriced Lincoln?
The words home and goal are coming to mind right now…
July 28, 2009 • 4:53 am 5
Automotive News (sub reqd.) is reporting that Lincoln and Mercury are looking to rationalise their product range by downsizing existing products and exploring new market segments. Although hardly surprising in the context of an industry-wide trend for downsizing, it is interesting that Ford is applying this strategy to it’s steadfastly large-car near-premium and premium brands.
Lincoln’s intentions were made clear with the delightfully characterful, Focus-based C Conept at January’s Detroit show and AN reports that the next MKS saloon and a small crossover will be moving to the Mondeo and Kuga platforms respectively. So far, so rational and so on trend even if the C Concept making production is “far from definite” according to Amy Wilson, author of the article.
Based on Amy’s intel though, it seems that Mercury will be… doing exactly the same thing! The other Merc will produce a four-door sedan based on the Focus, the Milan will move to the Mondeo platform and the Mariner will share its guts with the Kuga/Lincoln twins. Awesome.
For as long as I can remember, Mercury has struggled to find it’s place in the Ford Portfolio. Positioned as an entry-level premium brand to slot between work-a-day Ford and the once-glorious Lincoln, Merc has suffered the worst evils of badge-engineering, mis-directed marketing (the Milan Voga, aimed at Hispanic women being my fave) and being sandwiched between brands that gave it no room to breath. Surely the introduction of the new Ford Taurus, with it’s premium aspirations, will only cloud things further.
One could quite easily draw the conclusion that Mercury has no reason to live, given that the plans outlined simply call for still more badge-engineering. Indeed, the number of times that talk of Merc’s demise has emanated from Ford HQ tends to suggest that thoughts of Mercuricide have crossed the minds of Dearborn’s strategists more than once. Yet I can’t help feeling that the brand could still be put to some good.
Ford has developed some industry-leading ICE, hybrid and electric technologies and possesses studios of talented designers champing at the bit for a genuine challenge. Could Mercury, as it’s name suggests, become Ford’s messenger from the gods, bringing with it tales of a glorious, sustainable future? Why not allow Mercury to be the harbinger of Ford’s drive-train technologies and sustainability strategies in urban-appropriate packages?
This kind of test-bed automotive brand focused on urban vehicles isn’t entirely without precedent. Autobianchi fulfilled the same role for Fiat Group from ’55 to ’95 and presaged many innovations that later found their way into mainstream Fiat and Lancia products. You may scoff, wondering what place anonymous Mercury has becoming an expression of new urban cool, but let’s face it, what have they got to lose? Certainly not brand appeal. In the 2009 J.D. Power APEAL survey, Mercury sat comfortably in the bottom 10, along with Chrysler, Hyundai, Saab and Suzuki.
Given all the discussions I’ve had with @joesimpson and @charmermark about Ford’s future direction and encouraging a radical shift towards new models of personal mobility, Mercury’s reinvention as a sustainability-focused brand is scenario that I’d like to explore further. So over to you, dear reader. What do you think?
[Source: Automotive News (sub reqd.)]