Is this what they call an ‘experience brand’?

Brands can be complicated things. This one may be a business but it’s also a national sporting figurehead wired tightly into the Italian psyche, a rich man’s plaything that most of its fanatical fans could never afford to own and the most erotically charged engineering in history.

“In the agony, it seems, was the ecstasy. Ferrari’s appeal turned out to be something subtler than a simple thirst for victory. The suffering was the story. Once the Ferrari team turned into a steamroller, the passion lost its intensity.”

(this Guardian article was written before Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix and permitted Italians to breathe again).

Freedom of the road

This German charity is teaching Afghan women to drive. What a breathtakingly practical way of helping a downtrodden group get going after decades of oppression. According to The Economist they have taught 100 women the theory so far but the practical element is more difficult because they only have one car. Sounds like a great Christmas PR opportunity for a car manufacturer to me.

Motorists out of control

Catherine Bennett, in The Guardian, asks “who dares to stand up to the motorists?”

The motoring lobby had been protesting, like so many schoolboys banned from baking their conkers, that concealed speed cameras were a rotten swizz. Or, as the AA put it, “unfair”. The Sun said they were “sneaky”. They did not, drivers complained, give them a “sporting chance” of slowing down, before speeding off again.”

Forty years ago Jane Jacobs showed how speeding traffic destroys street life (in The Death and Life of the Great American Cities) and also how you can win it back by slowing the traffic down. In those forty years we’ve learnt nothing. Worse, we’ve surrendered our streets to the cars entirely and now we have to put up with their owners whinging continually about ‘hidden’ speed cameras while the pedestrians cower, stranded on the pavement.