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GM Recalls 8.2 Million More Cars for Potential Safety Issues

GM Ignition Recall Safety InformationAnother day, another recall of dangerously flawed GM vehicles.

The latest recall, which affects 8.2 million more cars, brings the total number of recalls this year to over 28 million. That means the company has actually recalled more cars this year than it has sold in the past seven.

Seriously.

This most recent batch, involving “unintended ignition key rotation,” includes seven different vehicle types, including the Chevrolet Malibu from 1997 to 2005, the Pontiac Grand Prix from 2004 to 2008, and the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS. The company also announced four other recalls that cover over 200,000 additional vehicles, most of which are due to an electrical short in the driver’s door that could potentially disable the power locks and windows and might even cause overheating.

A company statement regarding the ignition key issue features comforting sentiments like the fact that GM is aware of three deaths, eight injuries and seven crashes involving the vehicles recalled on Monday, but that it has no conclusive evidence that the faulty switches actually caused the crashes. Of course. Read more

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#PRFail: Honda Falls Asleep at the Wheel Joking About Narcolepsy

narcolepsy hondaI could write about this in our mediabistro sister blog over at AgencySpy, but why? This is such a #PRFail! This all comes down to a car company and the ineptitude to learn something — say about “narcolepsy.” Allow me:

nar-co-lep-sy /ˈnärkəˌlepsē/ (n.) 

A serious condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings

So, there’s this up-and-coming car manufacturer named Honda. Someone in the advertising agency or in-house decided it was time to promote the “All-New 2015 Fit” with a commercial called Synth and Seattleites. 

And then, they poked fun at narcolepsy. To wit, Honda got run over by a bunch of people they apparently didn’t know existed. You know? Like the chupacabra, Bigfoot, and unicorns, only much meaner.

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Brilliant Volkswagen PSA Proves to Theater Full of People Why Texting and Driving Kills

Think you’re the exception to the rule and you can just check one text really quickly while driving and not miss a beat or put lives at risk? A few people in this Hong Kong movie theater probably thought so, too — that is, until this happened:

Mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel, and while most of us “know” that, it seems to be a difficult message to hammer home in PSAs. We’ve seen many heart-wrenching spots featuring loved ones of those killed in texting-related accidents, but no matter how true or deeply moving those ads are, they are still happening to other people.

Apparently recognizing this challenge, Volkswagen, in partnership with Ogilvy Beijing, came up with a way to make their PSA happen to the audience, rather than just play out in front of them. The (above) result is shocking, powerful and completely unforgettable. We imagine every person in that theater will think twice before checking a text while driving.

BAD PR: John Oliver’s GM Parody Highlights Real, Disturbing Details of Internal Company Practices

Let’s play a little game of word association, shall we? What comes to mind when you think of the following words: deathtrap; decapitating; grenade-like; powder keg; and rolling sarcophagus? If your answer to any of these is “a car made by General Motors,” then an internal GM memo specifically banning the use of these words (and over fifty others) must have failed.

This past Sunday on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver delivered a scathing breakdown of a decade’s worth of disturbing internal PR practices at GM, and then — as the final nail in the rolling sarcophagus — showed a pitch-perfect parody of a GM ad. And in case not enough people subscribe to HBO for this clip to contribute to the company’s already-sticky PR problem, the network has made the video available on YouTube (where it has already been watched almost 700,000 times).

Just like in Shakespeare, the fool often speaks the truth more boldly and honestly than anyone else, and in this case, while viewers may be laughing (we certainly are), they are most definitely not laughing with GM.

UPDATED: ‘The Oatmeal’ Cartoonist Leverages Love of Tesla Motors to Support Nikola Tesla Museum

tesla-review-hed-2014

I’m a longtime fan of The Oatmeal, and particularly appreciate how cartoonist Matt Inman exuberantly describes and animates his unbridled passion for the things he loves — his dog, grammar, the fiendishly-terrifying Mantis Shrimp, etc.

As it turns out, Inman also happens to love Tesla — both the legendary inventor and the car company — and is attempting to leverage his love and endorsement of the latter to support a museum honoring the former.

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Hollywood, Marketing Execs Talk Trends in Branded Entertainment

Madison & Vine BookBrands partnering with entertainment outlets to produce content represent an effective, though selective phenomenon, according to entertainment executives at a recent Creative Week panel in New York. They were there to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Scott Donaton‘s book, Madison & Vine that spotlighted the trend.

“It was about marketing in an end-user controlled world. It was initially fear-based, that TV viewers would skip ads because of the introduction of TIVO. The thought was that brands could say worthy things that are story-based”, explained Donaton, former editor of Ad Age, and currently global chief content officer at UM Studio.

Key takeaways revolve around the evolution and dynamics involved:

Defining moments of branded entertainment abound, especially BMW Films (aka the gold standard) and BMW videos featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond. The Restaurant TV show also broke new ground. “The show’s thesis was that restaurants were the new theatre”, said Ben Silverman, founder and chairman of Electus. Of course, it’s easy to see that now, but it was rather novel at the time. Among other notable collaborations are American Idol and Coca-Cola, The Biggest Loser and 24-Hour Fitness, and Transformers movie and Hasbro.

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GM’s Own Video Claims Its Recalled Cars Are Safe to Drive

Here’s another development in the corporate world’s biggest ongoing damage control campaign: according to GM’s own tests and accompanying video, released this morning on its unfortunately named content site “FastLane”, affected vehicles are totally safe to drive before being repaired…as long as drivers remember a series of dos and don’ts.

Here VP of global vehicle safety Jeff Boyer, who the company named to the newly created position less than two months ago to help manage the crisis, explains:

Looks good, but that was a long list of qualifiers…

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Mazda Recall Is an Arachnophobe’s Worst Nightmare

*Someone needs to give me a medal for inserting this image into this post without yielding to a complete mental breakdown

Disclaimer: This PRNewser writer is the definition of an arachnophobe — meaning, I would sooner hop into a burning car than one filled with spiders. Think that’s kind of a strange and specific example? Think again.

I learned about this bit of news via a text from a loving family member who has spent our lives demonstrating that love through acts of spider-related harassment. “Hear about the Mazda6 recall?” it read. “It’s your worst nightmare.”

According to Reuters, for the second time in three years, an eight-legged engineering challenge called the Yellow Sack Spider has caused Mazda Motor Corp to issue a major recall for Mazda6 sedans in North America; the spider, which likes the smell of gasoline (who doesn’t?) weaves a web that blocks a vent in the engine. These webs can restrict fuel flow, reducing fuel tank pressure when the emission control system releases vapors from the evaporative canister. This can put extra stress on the fuel tank, which could potentially crack and leak fuel, increasing the risk of a fire.

That’s right. Spiders are trying to blow you up. Read more

Brand Moves: Audi Snaps Into Action and E*TRADE Scraps the Cheeky Baby

Audi Snapchat Dog Courtesy of HUGEBeing a brand that’s witty, irreverent or challenges convention isn’t so easy, especially since those companies set the bar high and their customers come to expect unique, creative ads and social communications. Two such brands, Audi and E*TRADE, shared their stories at Ad Age’s Digital Conference this week in New York. Audi detailed their use of Snapchat during the Super Bowl game, and E*TRADE discussed their decision to end their popular baby ad campaign.

Audi picks up the pace: “Being a challenger brand gives us an edge”, said Anna Russell, Audi’s general manager of brand marketing. She outlined the car brand’s core messages: they’re “champions of progress”, using LED lighting, they “challenge convention”, particularly with their Quattro system, and they’re a “brand of action” and frequent sports sponsor.

Still, as Aaron Shapiro, CEO of their agency, HUGE, noted, with the Oreo effect, “now every brand is piling on no matter how relevant or not” in real-time marketing during events. He said Audi didn’t want to use a “me-too strategy”. (Plus, they needed to be careful since they were involved in a 2010 Super Bowl campaign controversy).

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Tesla’s Latest Press Release Satisfies Your GIF Fix

shutterstock_173790803

We’re not up for making sweeping generalizations on a Monday morning, but Tesla’s latest corporate announcement definitely raises some questions about the future of the press release.

Rather than go the traditional route, CEO Elon Musk took time off from his day job serving as Larry Page’s favorite charity organization to publish the release under his own name as a Medium post. It’s both a product launch and the latest step in an ongoing campaign to control the damage stemming from safety concerns with Tesla cars.

Don’t worry; Musk sticks to his famously aggressive messaging style and adds a few GIFs for emphasis.

Read more

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