Volkswagen Surprises Pedestrians with a Beat Boxing Electric Vehicle

Volkswagen E-Up Beatbox

Over the years we’ve become accustomed to sound of traditional gas-powered vehicles, but electric vehicles run relatively silent at low speeds making them a potential danger to blind or the disabled. Earlier this year the US government required that all EVs produce some kind of sound until they reach 17 mph. Exactly what those sounds will end up being has been open to debate and creative thinking.

Interactive agency DDB Tribal used the silent-running Volkswagen E-Up to demonstrate one creative solution involving vocalist and beatbox artist Fatih Sahin.

[via Car Scoops]


Honda Promotes N-ONE with a Smartphone Case Featuring Airbags

Honda Smartphone Case N

I’ve owned some form of mobile phone for almost 12 years now, and despite that length of experience I still drop the damn thing at least once a day. Thankfully I’ve avoided any serious damage to the phone thanks to a $20 plastic case.

To promote the Honda N-WGN — a light automobile produced specifically for the Japanese market — engineers at the car maker (apparently with lots of free time on their hands) have created the ultimate safe smartphone case. The (apparently) working, yet bulky prototype deploys a series of airbags when dropped.

According to the video, an accelerator detects when the smartphone is falling, and within 0.2 seconds gas is released from a C02 cartridge inflating the 6 airbags contained within the case.

Last year, Honda created a 1:1 cardboard model of the N-ONE that dedicated fans could download, print and assemble.

[via Gizmag]


Mercedes-Benz Takes AMG Vision GT Concept from Video Game to Reality

Mercedes's AMG Vision Gran Turismo 1:1 Scale Model designed for Gran Turismo 6

December 6 marks the release of Gran Turismo 6 and the 15th anniversary of the racing game franchise. To mark the occasion Polyphony Digital Inc. has partnered with a number of automakers for an initiative called Vision GT to come up with a vision of the sports car of the future.

Among the list of participants are leading design studios from Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Honda, Infiniti, just to name a few. The results will be made available to players of Gran Turismo 6 as special downloadable content.

The first car from the project to be revealed is the AMG Vision GT, created at the Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in Sunnyvale, California. The car’s futuristic shape was inspired by the iconic 1952 300 SL, and includes an oval grille with variable pattern LEDs. For even more added realism the Mercedes-AMG sound specialists created the sound for special V8 engine sound for the virtual 577hp AMG V8 biturbo engine in the car.

The best was yet to come, as the Mercedes unveiled a full-size concept of teh AMG Vision GT at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Unlike the virtual AMG Vision GT, the full-size concept was powered only by an electric motor so it could be moved around the convention center.


[via CarScoops / New York Times]

Create a Melody of Roaring Engines Using Seven Generations of Porsche 911s

Porsche 911 Birthday Roar

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Porsche 911, and to celebrate the event the automaker engaged creative agency Fred & Farid to create a fun interactive experience for their Chinese web site.

With game play similar to Guitar Hero, the numbers 1 to 7 on your keyboard control the engine sound of one of the Porsches. Match the sounds and you’ll progress through each of the levels. Each of the cars represents one of the seven generations of the 911 released since 1963.



Fiat Brings 500 Abarth to Life Using 13 Naked Models in Body Paint

Fiat 500 Abarth - Body Paint

This week ESPN’s annual Body Issue hit the newsstands featuring striking photographs of nude athletes including and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, funnycar driver Ashley Force, and 77 year-old golf legend Gary Player among others.

Going along with the theme, Fiat USA’s ad agency, The Richards Group created an ad using the strategically positioned painted bodies of contortionists, artists and models to create what looked like a Fiat 500 Abarth, all under the watchful eye of San Francisco photographer RJ Muna.

This is not the first time this concept has been executed. In the past year Clemenger BBDO created “Body Crash” for the Motor Accident Commission of South Australia, and The I.D.E.A. Brand created human motorcycles for Progressive International Motorcycle Shows.

[via PSFK]


Japanese Drivers Use Odometer Reading as Entry for Insurance Company Lottery

Sony Assurance Odometer Lottery

With Sony Assurance basing their auto insurance rates on the number of kilometers that their customers drive, they along with ad agency Frontage Inc. came up with a contest idea to make Japanese drivers more aware of the distance that they travel.

The Odometer Lottery was launched in August 2012 during the Bon festival, an annual tradition when Japanese make the journey back to their hometown to visit family.

To enter the contest, drivers simply took a picture of their odometer reading and uploaded it to an app on the company’s Facebook page.

Grand prize was a JTB travel gift worth 30000 yen with 50 second prizes of 2000 Amazon gift vouchers. In 3 weeks, the contest site had 14,887 visits and 546 entrants.

[via Ads of the World]


Web Series ‘Build’ Features Cars Built From Parts Purchased on eBay Motors

eBay Motors - Built

What better way to demonstrate the depth of product on eBay Motors than to create a car-build show in which teams buy and build the cars from parts found on the site.

The 10 part web series features teams from four respected Los Angeles area garages; Mackey’s Hot Rods, Off Road Evolution, GSR Autosport and Duran’s Quality Painting, with support from Hot Rod, Four Wheeler, European Car and Lowrider magazines.

During each episode, the parts purchased for the build are highlighted in a sidebar with a link to the product on the eBay Motors site. With the series completed, all 4 of the vehicles are up for auction with all proceeds going to four charities; Semper F1 Fund, The California Trail Users Coalition, SEMA Cares and The SEMA Memorial Scholarships.

With 6 days rmaining in the auction, the 1970 Jeep Grand Cherokee built by Off Road Evolution leads the bids, slightly ahead of the 1966 Chevy El Camino Lowrider built by Duran’s Quality Painting.

The series was created by San Francisco’s Venables Bell & Partners.


Jeep Ad Provides Example of QR Code & Mobile Best Practices

Jeep QR code connects readers to deals on mobileThis full-page Jeep ad that appeared in newspapers this week is a great example of ‘Best Practices’ to follow when using a 2D barcode in advertising. A recent poll from AskingCanadians revealed that 58% of smartphone owners who scan 2D barcodes are scanning them from newspapers (just like this one) and magazines.

The Experience
Once scanned the QR code resolves quickly to a mobile friendly page. Three simple drop down menus help the user to select region, brand (you could also select Chrysler, Dodge or Ram deals), and model. The selected vehicle page loaded quickly and featured a photo, price, features and detailed description. A button labelled ‘Get This Deal Now’ could be tapped to find a dealer near you, besides the prompt by the page to ‘Use Your Location’, dealers could be found by inputting a postal code. The dealers are listed with contact information clickable phone number (it is a phone after all), map location, and a link to a mobile friendly email contact form.

1. The ad uses a QR Code.
The term QR code refers to Quick Response codes. These are an open source type of 2D barcode that was created in the mid 90s by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave as an efficient way to track auto parts. It can be read by the largest number of 2D barcode reader apps. Most 2d barcode providers include QR codes as an option.

2. The QR code is a readable size.
An optimal size for a QR code is around 1 inch. This allows it to be clearly read by most smartphone cameras. A ratio of 10:1 is a good practice to follow when considering how big to make your QR code. A QR code in a print ad, where a reader’s camera phone would be used at a close distance of 10-15cm should be an inch or 2cm.

If you are considering using a QR code on wall poster where most readers will be approximately a metre away from, then a 10cm square code would be appropriate. Angle of surface, lighting conditions are other important factors to consider. Other types of 2D barcodes such as ScanLife’s EZcodes and Microsoft’s Tag have a simpler structure and can be made a bit smaller. However they require a specific type of 2D barcode reader apps.

3. Set expectations
There in a clear call to action to motivate the reader. The copy reads “Scan Here for More Great Offers”, which fits in well with the theme of the ad. The usage of the QR code makes perfect sense as a way to connect the user to relevant content at that moment.

4. Provide a mobile friendly destination
The mobile landing page loads quickly and feels like a natural extension of the print ad allowing me to quickly find an offer on the vehicle I am interested in.

5. Provide value
When scanned the QR code resolves to a mobile page where a reader can fine additional offers on Jeep & Chrysler vehicles of their choice, as well as a contact information for a local dealer.

The only parts of the execution I can critique are the absence of an alternative URL and instructions on how to use the QR code. While 86% of smartphone users recognize what a 2D barcode is (according to a recent AskingCanadians poll), the majority of people still may not understand how to find a 2d barcode scanning app or what to do with it.