Friday, November 02, 2007

Your car as "most favorite" room

Marketing people like to “reframe” products so that they appear to be more than what they are.

A skin lotion is an anti-age elixir. A diamond is a timeless message. An expensive watch symbolizes a successful career.

So it was that Robert L. Nardelli, the new head of Chrysler (formerly, and significantly, CEO of Home Depot) described today’s car as the “most favorite (sic) room under your roof.”

Then he told his audience, a group of magazine publishers, “It’s incidental that it gets you from Point A to B, right?”

To which I say, wrong. If it doesn’t get me from Point A to B, I don’t care what room it is, I’m not entering it.

Chrysler apparently isn’t any better at picking its executives that the rest of the oil-fixated American automobile industry. (Yesterday, Chrysler announced that it was laying off 13,000 workers. Since 2006 the automaker, counting the announced layoffs, will have cut 80,000 employees, a 30 percent reduction.)

But Nardelli did get me to thinking about all the other things cars have become other than, well, cars and “most favorite” rooms.

Here is a partial list:

Phone booths.

Real-world video racing games. (Weave at high speed in and out of lanes, then crash, likely die and kill or maim others.)

Love nests.


Bars or detox cells.

Escape modules. From whatever — the mundane, your 9 to 5, rush hour traffic).

Flashy clothing.


Sex surrogates.

Weapons of mass destruction (think car bombs).

Ego gratifiers.

Global warmers.

Oh, and incidentally, they get you from point A to B.


We can hope.

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