Monthly Archives: January 2008

the redesign blues – sometimes, less is more

two most popular powersports b2bs meet up on the design frontline

Not three weeks into the new year and already major change is delivered, and noted. Both Dealernews and Motorcycle Product News came out with significantly different, yet remarkably similar, makeovers in their January issues. Net result? Easier to look at, harder to read.
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yeah – what about jobs?

Timing’s everything. The Michigan primary has the current crop of politicians stating the obvious: the state’s in trouble, and promising the banal: the plan out of unemployment is retraining. Okay so far, we don’t disagree.

But. In case you didn’t know, and I sure didn’t, the leading black hole darlings for investor capital continue to be dot coms, like, well, YouTube. Purchased by Google in 2006 for $One-with-a-B billion. Spread out over about 60 employees. No, I can’t do the math.
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pri’s speed shop – a performance triple-decker

performance racing industry’s 3-day portable speed shop

Tag along as we travel to Orlando for the Performance Racing Industry’s annual trade show, held last December under Chamber of Commerce skies and a little north of 40,000 dealers. You won’t find stereos or flat screens, spinner rims or rhinestones. Just aisle after aisle of speed and performance. So jump on the bus and take a look at Performance Racing Industry 2007.

xerox’s newest logo generates half-buzz

xerox launches contemporary new looknew look replaces this old look

News this week that Xerox picked Omnicom group Interbrand to develop a fresh interpretation (left) of their somewhat stodgy all caps rendering that’s been in use since, well, since ’04. Nuts and bolts include the following: cost unknown, but they didn’t use a part-time freelancer who moonlights at the community college; rollout to take 18 months; applications range from biz cards to equipment badging. Stated goal is a rebranding (here’s my take on the process) from a copier company to communications omnipotence – or something close. Oooo-kay.
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’08 forecast – more biz-based social networks

reading the tea leaves becomes more challenging

British-based vnunet.com thinks 2008 will mark several milestones as social networking becomes increasingly integrated into the consumer business model, a shift predicted for ’07 that wasn’t as widespread as imagined.

Feedback and influence from social networks will ultimately become more significant factors in the purchasing decision cycle.

Our view is that print will remain the media of record even as consumers make the wholesale move to web-driven info for purchase-related decisions.

Social nets – for better or worse – will get more and more use as endorsement gateways offering peer-to-peer near-realtime dialogues. In practical terms, if as seems likely, I’ll now have to replace a perfectly decent HD DVD player with a Blu-ray DVD player to go with all my other DVD dammit players that have become useful as kickstand supports. Sorting out the pluses and minuses will take place on a social net somewhere, as opposed to waiting for the latest “Electronics Monthly” to show up on Border’s magazine rack.

Conclusion? If you’re not blogging your product, and/or watching what’s being blogged about your product, your competitor is. Which means their widget will come up, and your widget won’t.

hot rods in hi def – oh wow!

a little good, honest photography never hurt

Got hi-def? Discovery Channel’s new ‘Rides’ series is a good reason to run right out and cable yourself into 1080 bliss if you haven’t done so already. Specifically, the segment titled ‘Rat Rods’, in rotation and airing next on January 7th.

Ever wonder what life would be like without reality show buffoonery and billet ad nauseum? Then you’ve found a new home. The almost hour-long episode focuses on the chopping of “bad news”, a resurrected T-model by a bunch of cats, the Burbank Choppers Car Club to be specific, whose idea of rods and customs doesn’t depend on a Black AmEx, just desire, imagination, skill – and a healthy respect for tradition.

Their site’s a piece of work to be admired for form and function as much as content. The same goes for snap-shooter Laurent Bagnard whose coffee table book about the club “The Electroline Diaries” sold out within weeks of publication.

Tag along on this respectful look at car culture the way it’s meant to be – without anybody ever mentioning “old skool” once.

like a snowball in a blizzard

when good ideas go wrong - there’s usually a reason

In my time I’ve made my share of photo mistakes, and they’ve usually been the result of bad lighting decisions. So I couldn’t help but notice this manufacturer’s attempt to illustrate the product in a natural setting, the usual goal of product publicity. Unless the product features camouflage and the setting is the deep woods.

Photographers like to complain about the difficulty of certain setups as “being like” taking a picure of a lump of coal in a mineshaft. Or a snowball in a blizzard. Or, more common, of that newly polished piece of billet. In this case the result isn’t fatal, but for one obvious reason it falls short of being an eyestopper.

The lack of separation of product from background directs the eye to the model, not the product. Next time try some portable location lighting or prepare to spend a few hours in Photoshop to knock the background down a bit and open up the product.

dakar fallout circles the globe

scuderia west’s team rally pan am was deeply disappointed

Team Rally Pan Am issued a press release that, apart from regret, wondered if perhaps the Portugal and Morroco legs couldn’t have been salvaged before cancelling outright the entire event. The privateers from San Fran had hoped this would be their breakout year with Jonah Street again seeking a podium.

“It’s unfortunate that so many people’s livelihoods are affected by a few people’s attitudes.  I was looking forward to the race this year, and my whole team and I are extremely disappointed. This would
have been a great race for us,” said Street.

Charlie Rauseo, team manager, said that “It is a huge blow to our team.  This is the race we look forward to and spend all year preparing for.”

“After having spent many months training and preparing for this rally, the team regrets not having the chance to prove itself on this international stage. It is unfortunate that the race was not run at least in Morocco so that sponsors could receive some of the exposure from this great race, and supporters and fans could cheer on Jonah as he raced for the win.”

dakar rally falls victim to terrorists

no more dakar?!?

A.S.O. condemns the terrorist menace that annihilates a year of hard work, engagement and passion for all the participants and the different actors of the world’s biggest off-road rally.

Today’s announcement from Lisbon and here and here on the eve of the 2008 Dakar (January 5-20) that the event’s been cancelled has rocked the off-road rally community. Organizers list the Christmas Eve murders in Mauritania of four French citizens by terrorists, coupled with continuing threats by reported terrorist organizations aimed at the event and a French government advisory against all travel in the region as reasons for the cancellation.

here’s the forecast – online gets more traction

it was on the internet - it must be true

The Economist reports that London based ZenithOptiMedia is predicting internet ads, at a forecast 8% of all global advertising, will surpass the bucks now spent on radio in 2008. And by 2012, another research firm is estimating nearly 18% of European advertising will be online. This in the context of a domestic recession many think inevitable.

Where is print in this outlook? Weeeeeelll…newspaper profits are predicted to improve as a result of subscription increases and more ad revenue, even as many (see Herald, Miami) continue to cut circ and staff. Often refered to as eating the seed corn.

Big news, though, is the consensus that nearly 90% of marketing departments will or have already launched “social content” campaigns, and that by ’09 marketers will be targeting 25% of their budget for social media. What’s it all mean? At this point it seems that for all but a handful at the very top, online media’s a must-have of don’t have a clue how to.