No. 1013
September 11, 2019

About The UjianNasional@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of

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JUNE 12, 2019

arrowup.gif  VW. The German manufacturer today launched its new direction for the brand in the U.S., with a spot called "Hello Light," which will debut tonight during game three of the NBA Finals. VW has been working since 2015 to atone for the damage of the diesel scandal, and is now focused on conveying a message "built around responsibility, innovation and how a major automaker can credibly contribute to the greater good," according to VW's PR minions. Created by New York-based Johannes Leonardo, VW's new lead brand agency, "Hello Light" is a limited-run spot that will be replaced by the broader "Drive Bigger" part of the campaign, which will debut on June 11. In fact, "Drive Bigger" sounds like they're trying to recreate the magic of VW's famous "Think Small" ad campaign in 1959 for the Beetle. We like this new spot. It is an example of true brand advertising, which is a rarity (if not entirely nonexistent) in the auto ad biz these days. We can only imagine showing this to clients at GM or Ford, and getting the typical response, "I'm not paying for all that black screen time!" Add in the whole darkness/light thing (electricity=light, get it?), the use of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" - I thought sure they were gonna use that to highlight the silence of EVs - and "Introducing a new era of electric driving" instead of referencing EV, because it changes the framing of this whole thing in a good way - and the result is a spot that I like more each time I see it. It may just be the "1984" of EV advertising up to this point. Apple's iconic ad in 1984 forever changed the way the world looked at the personal computer and still resonates to this day as a singular example of true brand advertising. -WG. Editor-in-Chief's Note: WordGirl is so right about the black screen time - this would never fly at Ford or GM, as in no frickin' way. And it's rare to see a brand image spot these days from a major auto manufacturer, because they're either pushing a specific vehicle or some sort of retail spot. The new direction for VW is smart and "Hello Light" is dramatic, original, well conceived and flat-out excellent overall. And if this is a preview of what's coming from VW, we're sufficiently impressed and look forward to the new work. Nicely done, ladies and gentlemen. -PMD.

VW Update: Editor-in-Chief's Note: As excited and pleased as we were with the "Hello Light" spot for VW, the spot that launched today - “Something Big” - to introduce the new "Drive Bigger" campaign is very disappointing. It veers into colossal touchy-feely visuals with no connection to anything other than to give the impression that "we're VW and we believe in bigger things for the wellness of all mankind" or something like that. It's annoying, predictable and a giant letdown. It's as if the creatives at Johannes Leonardo got lost in themselves and the VW client went along with it. The net result? An eminently forgettable spot and a missed opportunity. -PMD  Editor's Note: The idea behind "Something Big" is all well and good (and noble), etc., etc., but this work does not have anywhere near the magic (none, in fact) of last week's "Hello Light" spot. Moreover, it could be a statement from any brand, automotive or otherwise. And we're not quite sure about the "return Volkswagen to its counter-culture status" part of the equation (as agency co-founder Leo Premutico outlined as a campaign goal). Society is clearly well on its way to promoting the collective good over the individual (thereby negating any notion that this is a "counter-culture" idea). So, basically, we're feeling more than a bit let down after the amazing work that is "Hello Light." "Something Big" looks like like VW did a complete pivot and decided to "Think Small," and not in a good way. -WG

With an output of up to 416HP, the completely new Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter M 139 engine is "the world's most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine in series production," according to Mercedes PR minions. Mercedes-AMG has exceeded the previously most powerful M 133 engine by 40HP. Maximum torque has also increased from 350 to up to 369 lb-ft. With an output per liter of up to 208HP, the new Mercedes-AMG high-performance turbo engine even ranks ahead of many well-known supercar engines. The highly efficient new engine is produced on an innovative production line in Affalterbach, on the "One Man, One Engine" principle. The four-cylinder engine is available in two output versions for the compact models of Mercedes-AMG: 416HP for the S-model and 382HP in the base version. Apart from its performance figures, the new engine specializes in immediate response. To this end, the torque curve was carefully balanced with "torque shaping": The peak torque of 369 lb-ft (354 lb-ft for the base version) is available in a range of 5000-5250 rpm (4750-5000 rpm in the base version). The maximum engine speed is up to 7200 rpm.

(Mercedes-Benz images)
The all-new, next-generation 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
, with larger dimensions and more comfort than the previous model, will start at $75,200. For that price the new GLS 450 4MATIC features additional standard equipment, a new 3.0L Inline-6 Turbo engine with EQ Boost "and the latest technological innovations from Mercedes-Benz," according to M-B PR minions. The new GLS has a widescreen dual display with a 12.3" Digital Instrument Cluster and 12.3" multimedia display with touchscreen, a new-generation Touchpad in the center console, and new 64-Color Ambient Lighting. Popular options on the previous-generation GLS, such as the Premium Package (including Blind Spot Assist, Smartphone Integration, Navigation, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio, Multi-color ambient lighting and KEYLESS-GO), the Lighting Package (Active LED Headlamps and Adaptive High beam Assist) and the Parking Assist Package (Active Parking Assist and Surround View Camera) are now all standard. And, of course, options abound.

The man responsible for developing some of the most iconic Jaguars ever, Norman Dewis OBE, has passed away at age 98. Over a 33-year career with Jaguar, Dewis’ fearlessness, extraordinary talent and friendly, humble demeanor helped establish him not only as Britain’s greatest ever test driver, but a veritable legend and a dedicated friend to the Jaguar brand. Dewis’ history with Jaguar is remarkable: he developed the multiple Le Mans-winning C- and D-type racing cars, the classic XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the pioneering 2.4/3.4 and Mk 2 saloons, the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the legendary E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the world-class XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the ‘XJ40’ models. Each and every model developed with Dewis’ help remains an icon of the automotive world to this day for its impeccable blend of comfort and handling. Unusually, Norman reported directly to Jaguar Chief Engineer, William Heynes. This arrangement was probably unique in the motor industry for a test engineer and it enabled the company’s chief engineer (later engineering director) instant, firsthand feedback on the proving process. Norman also sent copies of his reports to company founder Sir William Lyons. Both placed considerable weight on what Norman said.

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