Cars News and Reviews Super Bummed About Super Bowl Commercials- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Tuesday

I heard that half the people watching the Super Bowl do it for the commercials rather than the game. Where it used to be that the big game was the debut for the commercials, now it's more like the pinnacle: pre-game there is hype, not of the product but of the product hype. People get primed all over social media to go see those ads. There are teasers, trailers, reviews. We're talking a 30-60 second ad!

It's like something out of Borges, this recursive hype.

Maybe marketing managers are spending so much money hyping the ad, that there isn't much left for the production of the ad itself. Or maybe the long recession is taking its toll. Whatever the case may be, the lineup of ads at Super Bowl 50 is as lackluster as the game itself was pronounced to be.

You know it's bad when you watch the ads, all in a row, on a website that helpfully provides a ranking - and you have trouble figuring out which way the ranking goes, whether Number 1 is on top or at the bottom.

I used to have fun snarking over some of the car commercials in the week following the game, but I have decided to skip it this year. The ads are not worth even stepping on. And I've also come to realise that I'm not going to be part of the machine that perpetuates the hype after the game. For free. No way.

So I'm going on an advertising strike. More than that, I am striking back.

I'm doing that by directing you to the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Check them out: they have a wealth of resources on how companies are squeezing your children for all they're worth to make a buck off of them, and how to get your kids away from that. Also great for grownups!



CCFC is the organiser of the annual Screen Free Week. Don't wait, start planning for it now.

 

 

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Cars News and Reviews Two-wheeled Uber- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Sunday

You know Uber, right? Started in San Francisco (where else?), you can now hail Uber drivers in major cities on all continents. They're even in China, even though Didi Kuaidi is giving it a run for its money, offering buses and chauffeur service along with ridesharing. Its Didi Hitch service is expected to pick up quite a few riders over the Chinese New Year holiday.

Uber also operates in Jakarta, but is plagued by the same issue afflicting every car driver: the legendary traffic jams. It is not unusual for riders to request a stop and treat their drivers to a meal so both can resume the trip without the growling stomach.

Enter Gojek.

Gojek is like Uber, but the driver pulls up in front of your door on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are nimble and can slip around the cars. The driver gives you the trademark green helmet to wear, which makes you not only their paying customer but also their involuntary mobile billboard, and you climb on the back.

Like Uber, it's a door-to-door service, you reserve and pay online, and you can leave ratings on the drivers. Recently they have introduced the woman-friendly option of asking for a female driver, which is important in this Muslim country. And for foodies (or the plain lazy), you can order a Gojek ride for your lunch or dinner: the driver picks up your order at the restaurant, pays for it, and you pay for both the food and its ride. They also have more conventional courier service.

You do get to do what motorcycle riders in large congested cities do: breathe in a toxic cocktail. You know all the noise around the Volkswagen diesel scandal, over its cars spewing out way more smog-forming emissions than they should? Well, in places like Jakarta they'd laugh at the whole affair: their diesel contains so much sulphur (1250ppm, compared to 15ppm in the United States) that the NOx is merely an afterthought.



And of course, you don't know who else has been sweating into that green helmet with the clever logo (Gojek is a wordplay on 'ojek', which is the local slang for motorcycle.) To assuage the squeamish, they offer you a shower cap to protect your hair from the brain bucket. Go figure.

On the other hand, you do get to weave around all those cars as they are stuck in traffic. Unless, that is, traffic is so overwhelming that even motorcycles are stuck too.



There was a crackdown in December 2015 on Gojek and its rival Grabbike. But it provoked such a firestorm on social media that Indonesia's president has rebuffed his transport minister's move, arguing that for too many people this is the only way to get around.

 

 

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