Friday, 31 January 2014

Celebrity Endorsement - When Will We Have Celebrity Cars?

Elizabeth Taylor's 'White Diamond' Perfume gave a boost to the fragrance industry to the tune of $1 billion dollars and transformed the market forever.
Now, with car manufacturers finding it hard to get the attention of car buyers, asks - "could it be time to introduce celebrity cars?" - and suggests 10 'tongue in cheek' car brands.

Top 10 Celebrity Car Brands

  • Lady Gaga - 'Gaga GoGo' - advanced 4x4 sports utility
  • Steven Spielberg - 'Jaws Wagon' - very large pickup truck    
  • Justin Bieber - 'Bieber Bug' - small, cheap car
  • One Direction - 'Directioner' - sat nav assisted super mini
  • Dame Judi Dench - 'Dame Ler' - luxury well appointed saloon
  • Elton John - 'Rocket' - flash, fast, appeal to older drivers
  • Simon Cowell - 'X Car' - very popular, mass market crowd pleaser
  • Gwyneth Paltrow - 'The Palt-Eco' - electric powered city car
  • Brad Pitt - 'Pitt Bus' - Large, well styled, MPV, great for big families
  • Oprah Winfrey - 'The Winfrey Bago' - top price motor home   
Victoria Beckham unveils her Range Rover Evoque in Beijing
Victoria Beckham was reported by the Daily Mail as having styled the Land-Rover Evoque. It is thought this collaboration would appeal to brand conscious Chinese buyers. This move is bound to be watched carefully by the World's major car brands who will adopt any successful formula to sell more cars. spokesman, the UK's biggest car review site with 108,800 car reviews, said, "Today there are few 'bad' cars, just different cars that suit different people. Although we've had some fun thinking of potential cars, it can't be long before more manufacturers ask celebrities - who appeal to a particular target market - to get involved in the styling and presentation of a car rather than just endorse it."
Elizabeth Taylor became even richer, as did the perfume company, by becoming involved intimately in the product and the promotion based on her brand and her image. Today the perfume industry has much higher sales and over 25% of all perfume sold is the product of a celebrity collaboration.
The Facebook page is open for suggestions on celebrity inspired car models and brands.
image via Daily Mail

Friday, 24 January 2014

‘Reviews 2.0’- 10 Golden Review Rules To Rebuild Trust

Reviews 2.0 - Rebuild The Trust

The BBC reported that one of the biggest review sites, US based ‘Yelp,’ had to disclose the identity of some reviewers in a case bought by a business which believed they were unfairly criticised. The Telegraph, published in the UK, highlighted a restaurant with the highest reviews on TripAdvisor that didn’t actually exist.

Digital Diligence

Review sites must be more robust in building their content. The following 10 rules should be adopted to prove that 'Digital Diligence' has taken place and users of the site can trust what they read. 

  1. Identify – reviewers must be known and identifiable by the review site
  2. Numbers – make sure there are enough reviews to remove bias
  3. Trust – avoid commercial bias eg users won’t trust a ‘sponsored’ review
  4. Experience – ensure reviewers actually owned the product or used the service
  5. Recent – old reviews reduce credibility
  6. Contact – record contact details to check identity later and provide an audit trail
  7. Exact – the review must match the exact product or service
  8. Democratic – 1 person/1 product/1 review to remove bias
  9. Endorse – get your reviewers to ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with other user reviews
  10. Simple – make it simple to submit a review

Legal Action?

It is likely that all review sites, and the reviewers who submit an opinion, will have to take more care in compiling their reviews.  STV reported the case of a Scottish guest house business targeting TripAdvisor to find out who wrote potentially damaging reviews.

Reviews - Big Business

Review sites are big business. US based Yelp is thought to be the largest and is listed on the stock exchange. Despite quite low revenues, it carries a hefty share price valuing the company in the $hundreds of millions if not $billions. The price is driven by investors seeing the potential of the large number of reviews and high number of visitors.

TripAdvisor employs over 1900 people worldwide and carries more than 125 million travel reviews and opinions from travellers around the world. 3.1 million Businesses and properties in 134,000+ destinations are listed on the site. Whilst the top travel review site is rated highly by its users, some businesses feel unfairly treated.

The Need For Specialist Review Sites

Reviews 2.0 isn't just about trust and control. believes that general purpose review sites, whilst useful, need to be complimented by specialist review sites where the thoughts and opinions on a specific product or service can be more defined and readily searchable. - Car Review Site now has the largest car review site in the UK with 121,620 reviews submitted by car owners in the last 14 months. A further 541,028 drivers (of the exact same car) voted ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with these reviews giving users an enhanced view of how useful that review is.

Controversy around online review sites continues. It is up to the review industry to adopt new practices if we want to see an evolution to ‘Review 2.0’ where both consumers and businesses can trust review sites more readily. The voice of the customer is important but we've followed the 10 Golden Review Rules to ensure that consumer view is genuine, they have used that product or service and their reviews are evaluated by their peers.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Top Ten 'New Age' Status Symbols for Flashy Singles highlights a dramatic decline in car ownership in cities. Rich singles are adopting new age status symbols to let people know they are not missing the Maserati.

Top ten new age status symbols for flashy singles
  1. Diamond and gold encrusted iPhones, a new status symbol 
    Ring-a-Bling – diamond and gold encrusted iPhones
  2. Black Beauties – Unlimited ‘black’ credit cards
  3. BOB’s – Big Outrageous Bags
  4. Fitted Up – Designer ware, made to order
  5. Elton Extras – Glasses from Gok to Gucci
  6. My Club – Membership of a Private Members Club
  7. Wealthy Watches – One for work, one for rest and another for play
  8. Work – Nose, boobs, hips, pecks, tummy tucks and pimples
  9. Wine and Dine – by price, not taste
  10. Doodle Poodle – obscure cross breed dogs (or a pooch in a BOB)
According to Buckingham University research, car ownership in cities has reduced from 30% to 26% in a trend supported by increased city dwelling and greater access to public transport.
In the past, a Porsche parked outside a pub or a Bentley key fob placed strategically by ‘ladies who lunch’ was enough to convey status.
Flashy singles and younger couples are increasingly unlikely to own a car but still have the cash, and the need, to show they are one place above their friends and colleagues by adopting 'New Age' status symbols.
According to the Max Planck Institute of Economics, the wealthier the individual, the less likely they will be to see status symbols as luxuries and more as necessities.
New status symbols to let people know they are not missing the Maserati
Nevertheless, when someone slaps down their ‘Black Beauty’ (an unlimited credit card) or walks an expensive ‘Doodle Poodle’ (a rare and costly cross breed dog), they are sending out signals to others that they have a position – quite possibly better than others.
Cities in all developed countries are becoming more populated with the wealthy, car-less, young. This trend would seem to be temporary. Eventually many singles become couples and, although new parents are getting older, new families face reality and move further away from city centres and buy a car to suit their new lifestyle.
For over 100 years the car has been a status symbol and not only for the rich. A neighbour with a new Ford Fiesta in a run-down area is displaying his status just as much as someone who spends ten times more on a Ferrari to show off to their friends at the golf club.
The WeLoveAnyCar car review site shows Alfa Romeos as some of the worst rated for reliability and they are not inexpensive. However, the same models are rated some of the most ‘fun to drive and great to own’. Cars will always be about taste, style, status as well as safety, reliability and economy.
No matter what car someone owns, the likelihood is that they will keep more value than a 'BOB' and could cost a lot less than the 'Black Beauty' credit card which will eventually have to be paid off.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

New Year Resolutions - Buy A Car That 'Will Never Let You Down'

In collecting 108,600 car reviews, finds car ownership is personal. Reviewers who rated reliability high said, "my car never let me down".

How come a car is so personal? Whilst a fridge breaks, a watch stops and a TV is on the blink, a dysfunctional car "let me down." home to more car reviews on the planet - has been analysing comments posted to the site by more than 108,600 known car owners.
Over 10% of owners who left comments and rated their car above 4 out of 5 said: 
"my car never let me down."
Over 10% of owners who left comments and rated their car above 4 out of 5 said, "my car never let me down."

Low rated cars on the review site had a similar number of comments saying, "my car let me down." spokesman said, "the loud and clear message from car reviewers was that car ownership is different from owning anything else. A car is part of a lifestyle, an image, it has to be practical but it means more than a watch, a TV or a fridge ever could."
For most, a car comes second only to a house in expense. However, people are more likely to spend five times as long looking and reviewing their next holiday than they do their next car.
Although one in eight of us buying a car will choose used, car review sites are focused on the richer few who can afford to buy new.
Until now, the used car buyer hasn't had a site with unbiased reviews from enough people to make any conclusions. is thought to have more reviews than any other site world wide. All cars are reviewed by known owners and then checked for accuracy by drivers of the same make and model - over 435,000 have voted on the reviews made so far.
All makes and models on the road are reviewed and the ratings include economy, reliability, comfort, drive and whether the owner would recommend a car.
Whilst the statistics are useful, the comments made are more informative - especially for car buyers who want to avoid particular models and spot common faults.
The site spokesman said, "We've done everything to help the car buyer. Our car reviews are unbiased, we check every one has owned the car for a considerable time and we invite them to take part if they have owned a car."
In the New Year, car buyers now have a site they can turn to if they want to find a car that 'won't let them down'.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

'Internet Drivers' Are A Growing Danger - Call To Cull Browsing On The Move

Legislation, research and the press are united - texting in cars is dangerous. believes internet browsing will outpace texting and is calling for browsers to be disabled for drivers on the move.

Smartphones such as iPhone and Samsung Galaxy generate more internet traffic than desktops - allowing users to 'Facebook', email and browse other pages like dating sites on the move. tracked use of their sites by people on the move and found a number using their site whilst moving quickly.
A spokesman for the biggest car review site in the UK said, "Like all companies with a sophisticated internet site, we can track usage where we have the user's permission. We found that a small number of users seemed to be moving very quickly. Whilst users could be on trains and passengers in cars we have to consider some users may be using their smartphone whilst driving." is considering building in a safety feature that detects when a user is on the move and warns them of the dangers of browsing whilst driving. The system may even disable mobile access if they are traveling more than 10 mph, if technically possible.
Google, Facebook, Twitter - they all have the resources to make our roads safer.
The Manchester based car site is now calling for the largest Internet companies to follow suit and develop systems which, at the very least, asks 'internet drivers' to consider the dangers of updating their Facebook statuses or reading emails whilst in charge of a car.
The site's spokesman continued, "Google, Facebook, Twitter - they all have the resources to make our roads safer. Technology will always outpace legislation and we should develop new features to help drivers focus on the road ahead."
Restricted use of technology on the move is not new. Modern in-built SatNav systems disable many features if the car is in motion.
Brake, the road safety charity, urges divers to 'Drive Smart' and recommends that phones remain out of site, out of reach, in the car. Whilst that is the best advice, the adoption by internet companies of measures to restrict use can only help where drivers feel 'separation issues' from their phone whilst on the move., which has more car owner reviews than any other place on the internet, believes the feature should become an industry standard and that will require the industry leaders and ISPs to agree on a user friendly way to enable greater car safety, whilst ensuring consumers have the ultimate choice.
Image source: Appolicious

Friday, 3 January 2014

10 Ways to Spot a Dog Loving Car Dealer

Would You Buy A Car From A Dog Hating Car Dealer?

In the dog survey, 77% of car owners with dogs said their choice of car was dependent on the best fit for their dog.

Given that dog ownership is on the rise - and the dog can be the final decider - how welcome do car dealers make dog owners?

Dogs In The Driving Seat When It Comes To Car Buying?
10 Ways to Spot a Dog Loving Car Dealer

1 'Dogs Welcome' sign in sight
2 Water for dogs provided 
3 Dogs feature in dealer's adverts 
4 Salesmen are 'dog aware' 
5 Salesmen offer to let your dog sit in the car 
6 Salesmen asks and uses the dog's name 
7 Dog snacks are offered 
8 Staff stroke and pet your dog 
9 Staff do not show displeasure with your dog
10 If there is a doggie accident, wipes and mops are provided 

The fact is over 20% of car owners will have dogs. Today's car market can be rough and dealers should take the lead and lay out the welcome mat for the family dog.
Car manufacturers seem to have caught on to the importance of the family pooch.  Volkswagen, for example, has seen considerable world-wide success with their #woofwagen campaign.  
Dealers may not hate dogs but most don't see how important they are.  Nowadays dealers cater for kids and treat both sexes equally but, to them, your dog is a nobody whilst, to you, he or she is part of the family.
Some dealers are catching on and an article in Automotive News features dealers (in the USA) who have seen that passing the 'sniff' test can win them business.
If you know a dealer or a car salesman - send him a link to this article.  Our job, as dog owning car lovers, is to spread the word.

Photo credit