Three motorcyclists competing in the final race of the international MotoGP circuit this month will have extra injury insurance, in the form of wearable airbags. Alpinestars’s Tech Air Race suit uses an onboard computer to sense the subtle differences between regular track turbulence and the motion associated with an impending crash, and it fires fall-cushioning airbags on the shoulders and collarbone (an oft-injured area for racers) before the biker hits the ground. These bags are nearly 10 times as effective at preventing injury as other armor. With foam pads, the impact at 200 mph is still more than 4,000 pounds of force; when this suit’s bags are inflated, that number is cut to 450 pounds—the difference between a collarbone fracture and a bruise.
Alpinestars anticipates that its consumer-grade suit—with two 2-quart bags, like those currently on pro tracks—will go on sale next year, with airbag-equipped jackets for everyday riders rolling out around 2013.
How To Cushion A Fall
A 1.1 pound computer set between the rider’s shoulder blades collects G-force, vibration and tilt data from seven sensors throughout the suit every two milliseconds….(read more)
Source: Popular Science
“As usual, the hype surrounding the ads turned many into a super-bust, suggesting that the folks on Madison Avenue are either bereft of ideas or, in some instances, taking too much advantage of liberalized pot laws.”
There was some excitement going into the game about an influx of relatively new advertisers, offering the promise of new blood. But just as a wave of newcomers in 2000 preceded the dot-com meltdown, this year’s crop of novice sponsors merely exposed a lot of not-ready-for-primetime players in the marketing world.
Of course, the criticism isn’t limited to the new guys. Car companies in general had a bad day. And Budweiser– which traditionally wields the biggest stick during the game – didn’t so much come up with new creative as recycle it, going back to the cross-species love affair between puppies and Clydesdales and erecting a giant Pac-Man maze to prove that, um, what was the point of that Bud Light spot again? (Admittedly, the puppy ad will no doubt be one of the day’s most popular in snap polls.)
“There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?”
The overall mix once again seemed to careen from the hopelessly schmaltzy (“Care makes a man stronger,” says Dove) to the simply goofy (Doritos strapping a rocket to a pig) to the borderline bizarre, such as Snickers dropping Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi into an old “The Brady Bunch” episode.
There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?
Another subcategory would be the overproduced extravaganza, such as Mercedes’ CGI “Tortoise & the Hare” retelling or Bud Light’s aforementioned Pac-Man spot. Some of these fare well in audience surveys, but the link between creative and advertiser is so tenuous the benefits often seem exaggerated. And while it’s not necessarily fair, both Microsoft and Toyota’s ads featuring people walking thanks to prosthetic blades were undermined in part by the specter of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of murder last year.
“Finally, there were the public-service announcements, with the sobering NoMore.org domestic violence spot – which resonated in light of the NFL’s Ray Rice fiasco – and Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ campaign. Yet as compelling as those spots were, they almost have to be broken out separately from more directly commercial advertising.”
So what were the principal highlights and lowlights? Separating out movies (which are essentially their own animal), public-service announcements and NBC’s promos for its midseason lineup, they loosely breakdown as follows:
ESurance: Tapping Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” mode was a genius move, mostly because of the instant cool the association creates in the mind of the show’s fans. In this case, they really did have a lot of us at hello.
Fiat: Look, we all know car ads are essentially about sex. Fiat made the connection overt by dropping a Viagra tablet into one of its cars. If not the best ad of the day, it was the most truthful, since it’s hard to think of any other reason to drive a Fiat.
Carnival Cruises: Wedding John F. Kennedy’s voice discussing man’s love affair with the ocean to beautiful imagery of ships at sea accomplished the near-impossible: It almost made me forget Kathie Lee Gifford and think, at least momentarily, about taking a Carnival Cruise. Plus, in practical terms, the Kennedy-era contingent probably a big part of the company’s target demo.
Coca-Cola: While it’s unlikely spilling Coke on the Internet will sap the venom out of Web comments and our political discourse, it’s hard not to applaud the underlying sentiment and idealism. Notably, McDonald’s went for a similar uplifting spiel with its “Pay With Lovin’” ad, which is probably effective from a marketing standpoint but felt cloying as a commercial. Read the rest of this entry »
Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and more have painted BMWs for the Art Car Project: 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’ElegancePosted: January 17, 2014
Basem Wasef writes: Gearheads talk a lot about fast race cars, and perhaps equally as much about four-wheeled beauties. The rare instance when beauty and brawn coexist within the same body is like lightning striking twice, and in the case of the famous Alexander Calder BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile,” a great reason to consider a pilgrimage to the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
BMW’s so-called Art Cars debuted to the public at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs at the Louvre museum in 1975, and have attracted artistic icons like Roy Lichtenstein (1977 320i), Andy Warhol (1979 M1), David Hockney (850 CSi), and Jeff Koons (M3 GT2). The Calder car kicked off the three and a half decade-strong tradition of collaboration, and qualified first in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in ’75 with drivers Sam Posey and Jean Guichet at the helm, until it was knocked out of the race with a broken driveline component.