It's been a tumultuous week in more waysthan one. We're going to leave it behind with a flashback, via Cycelicious, to the late 1970s, when Farrah Fawcett pedaled to promote her own line of shampoo. What helmet could contain that hair?
What's more authentically American than boys suping up their rides and preening about town deafening all within earshot (reducing taxes, you say..)? The Speed Network series Hot Import Nights is the weekly sex-and-horsepower profile of the subculture, and as anyone who saw any of the Fast and the Furious movies in the Bay Area knows, selling these components to gear-heads is brisk business.
The NY-based NoiseOFF website has compiled a fascinating case against the manufacturers of car audio equipment, much of it drawn directly from product advertising, in which companies use slogans like "Turn it down? I don't think so." and "Be Loud. Be Obnoxious." to market their wares, mostly to young men with a misguided longing for attention and "respect" (I speak from experience here).
For insight into the twisted psychology of boom car ownership, and the perverse ways it is exploited by the car audio industry, get a load of this long-form ad from Pioneer (also featured on NoiseOFF), entitled "Disturb." Think that guy on the block cares that he's rattling windows and setting off car alarms? Hardly. More likely it's his reason for living.
The Ad Council has some new material in its campaign aimed at teenage drivers. In these spots, a comedic actor (Fred Willard in the ad above) in the backseat of a car with three teens cajoles or threatens the driver into slowing down or minding the road. The gist of the campaign, corresponding with the title of its web site, is "speak up or else" -- a name perhaps more suited to hard-hitting PSAs from overseas.
On the heels of New York's Transportation Alternatives report on the human toll of driving too fast, we bring you this highly disturbing ad from the UK Department for Transport's THINK!
campaign, showing the difference a few miles-per-hour can make when it
comes to avoiding a collision. Ideally material like this (Australia
has a similar PSA) would be part of a required curriculum for American
drivers -- not to mention police, prosecutors and lawmakers, who all
too often seem just as unwilling to draw connections between the act of
reckless driving and its consequences.
But we probably shouldn't expect to see this brand of reality TV on US airwaves anytime soon. Instead we get crash test dummy cartoons and spots like this new Acura commercial -- motorist-centric, sanitized and disconnected from the grim truth of auto-inflicted violence.