Ford & Disney
Back in 1999, General Motors and Warner Brothers announced a joint-marketing venture valued at around $30-million that not only generated ads that had cartoon characters from the venerable studio pitching cars, but even a Warner Bros. “WB” logo, with Bugs Bunny leaning against it, affixed to the back of the Chevy Venture minivan.
One could wonder how that worked out for them. But then we can recall that the Venture’s last model year was 2005, and GM got out of the traditional minivan segment in the U.S. six years ago. Presumably this had nothing to do with the Wily Wabbit.
Anyway, this week the Consumer Electronics Show is in full swing in Las Vegas, and it seems that the automobile is a consumer electronics product, given the proliferation of both OEMs and suppliers at the show. (Maybe former Sun chairman Scott McNealy, who said at a Convergence show in 2000 that a car is essentially a browser on wheels, was right.)
Looking to find whatever traction they can in terms of making news, Ford has announced that it has cut a deal with Disney, wherein the Radio Disney app will be part of the launch of SYNC 3, its new and improved (we’re not sure which) infotainment system.
The app will work when the driver connects her phone to SYNC via Bluetooth. Then, with simply the touch of a button or even just an uttered statement, there can be 24/7 music aimed at “kids, tweens and families.”
According to Julius Marchwicki, Ford Connected Services Product manager, “Drivers will be able to keep the entire family entertained while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel.”
That “entire family” aspect is a dubious proposition at best.
I'm not talking about a plastic Revell model of a '57 Chevy, but a real vehicle, one that rolls off an assembly line in 1999 with another 99,999 just like it right behind. Is it possible, or is this just a fantasy of the marketing department at Elmer's?
There is a growing concern among automakers that young people just aren’t as keen on driving as those automakers—as in people who are generally north of 45—find that even their own children, kids who have grown up with a highly satisfactory lifestyle thanks to the existence of cars and trucks, are largely indifferent to driving or, in some cases, even getting a license.
During recent months, the Firestone/Ford Explorer fiasco has shaken the entire automotive industry to its core.