You get to become a bit of a connoisseur of it in the Wheels office, but the Volvo V40 ‘teaser’ we received today vaulted straight into the upper echelon. You’re probably becoming used to the drawn-out process whereby car makers ‘leak’ images of their wares, but Volvo has excelled itself. Here are a couple of images detailing what we can expect from the new V40.
I can tell by now that you’re frantically looking for a dotted line to sign on. Does anything say ‘vibrancy, individuality and playfulness’ quite like a fly screen? Or what looks to be a close-up of a mulch chip?
“We were asked to do a remix of what Volvo stands for,” claims the bespectacled designer, sitting on a chair next to a square box. They could have chosen anything in the background and Volvo chose A BOX? I’m beginning to think we’re being trolled by a bunch of Swedes. It was former design chief Peter Horbury who famously said that Volvo had finally thrown away the box but kept the toy. Now I’m not so sure.
Remember the Dudley Moore movie, ‘Crazy People’? Dud was onto something.
There’s a distinct correlation between how expensive a car is and the amount of guff it needs in order to sell. Mahindra and Haval get straight to the point. At the other extreme is a brand like Rolls-Royce which can always be relied upon to maintain the gold standard in guff. It’s truly inspired. Take this press release for the Rolls-Royce Dawn.
‘Dawn’ perfectly expresses the character of the new Rolls-Royce. In its tentative, inchoate, anticipatory state, dawn is the world coming to light from the ethereal dark of the night. The early day chill of dawn provides an erotic tingle on the skin, awakening the senses and passions as the day begins. Like Eleanor Thornton, thought by many to be the inspiration behind the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls-Royce Dawn will also prove itself to be the muse that leads its owner to believe that at the start of the day, anything is possible.
The new Rolls-Royce Dawn is beguilingly visceral. It excites both men and women – they want it, they need it and they want to immerse themselves in it. It is languid and beautiful, fresh and fragrant and awakens the passion of your life. New life, new possibilities, fresh horizons – a tingling, anticipatory ambience in the air – all signified by a new Dawn.
So fresh and fragrant is the Dawn that one 60-year old lady in a Prius couldn’t wait to immerse herself in Kris Jenner’s. Fortunately they were both okay and Mrs Jenner promptly ordered another one the very next day.
Aston Martin’s ace up its sleeve is the ‘True Power Should Be Shared’ series of promo movies, commissioned to spruik the launch of the Rapide. At a guess, it looks as if Aston Martin was going for the sort of viral success that BMW enjoyed with ‘The Hire’, a series of eight short films produced for the net in 2001 and 2002. The Rapide promos didn’t quite reach that standard. In fact, if you’re an aficionado of toe-curlingly awful acting, you really need to see this.
It wings straight through ‘so bad it’s good’ into that rare and beautiful realm reserved only for those things that have you gaping like a goldfish and wondering how this was ever commissioned. Or approved. Or paid for. Film director Donnie Masters said in the Aston Martin press release: "We wanted to deliver a subtle but clever piece of branded entertainment.” What he doesn’t go on to say is “but we decided that we would instead create something so ghastly it’ll make you want to hick up part of your soul instead.”
He did it.
Aston Martin has gone to great lengths to bury this promo, but, thankfully, it lives on, preserved in knuckle-gnawing perpetuity by a few dedicated YouTubers. The character of Simon, the weapons specialist and keen harpist, has the sort of smirking face that even if you’re a person not given to violence, you’ll feel that warm and fuzzy urge to attack him with a spade. None of it makes sense. The dialogue goes nowhere. They ask for the cheque in the restaurant and then leave without paying, looking for all the world like a quartet of recruitment consultants on their way to a school reunion.
Unbelievably, there are parts two and three but we couldn’t bring ourselves to watch them all. We’re secretly hoping the protagonists die in a grease fire during the thrilling finale. Do write in and let us know how it pans out for them.
Generally, most of the press material we get is great. Useful even. But there’s a special place in our hearts for guff that goes above and beyond. Excitable PRs of the world, we salute you.