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Today I question the spread of social media to every last place on earth.

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Hey everybody

It’s my annual Super Bowl commercial podcast. You know I love sports, you know I love marketing, and I also love beer and cars so that’s covered too.

Last year I broke down 10 Super Bowl commercials that were completely irrelevant (and 6 that weren’t), but this year I’m going to do a quick one.

Passing thoughts were that a lot of commercials must have paid big money royalties to songwriters, including Kenny G, Elton John, David Bowie, Jay Z, Eminem, and the theme from Star Wars. I guess on the big stage, you want a music that people know.

I thought Bridgestone and Audi and Teleflora hit their mark, Best Buy tried a little too hard, the beer commercials were about par for the course, and the ad exec that suggested the ‘Pepsi Max can to the groin‘ should be fired. You know his defense was. ‘C’mon… can to the groin always works.’ Sadly, he’s kinda right.

And by far the one that stopped me in my tracks was Chrysler’s Eminem spot. Beautifully shot, held your attention, and made you think. Am I going to go buy a Chrysler? Let’s say the chances of that rose from never, not a chance…. to less than 3%.

But you know what? I’ve been swayed before. My parents need a new car, and I told them to look at two Hyundai models and two Ford models in addition to checking out an updated Camry. Can’t say I would have done that 5 years ago.

More importantly is what I think it does for Detroit. The motor city has been the brunt of jokes for well over a decade now. They’re like the youngest brother that can’t keep up with the rest of the family. But it’s still YOUR little brother. And maybe the Super Bowl, a game of upsets and redemption, is the perfect place to make a stand. Look at last year’s champions, the New Orleans Saints. Here was a franchise whose team was steeped in failure, but the entire country rallied around a city. Maybe Detroit is up next.

But let’s switch to the main topic…

Facebook integration on a new car.

For those that missed it, check out the spot below, or here’s the scene. A young couple is standing on the sidewalk at night after a first date, there’s the awkward pause, then they share a quick kiss before the girl runs into her apartment.

The guy gets into his car, hits a button on the mirror, and uses a voice command to bring up a spoken feed of his Facebook page, which assures him that his love interest has posted ‘Best first date ever.’ The tagline?

The all-new Chevy Cruze with real-time Facebook status updates.
When the good news, just can’t wait.

My visceral reaction was as follows:

– That’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard of

– That is the most unsafe thing I could imagine… what if the status update had been, ‘Back from my date, what a tremendous loser. Bad breath, stiffed the waiter with a bad tip, and talked about his mom all night. I’ll never get THOSE 2 hours back.’

– That’s a desperate move by Chevy to try to seem hip with the younger crowd

– Will social media seep it’s way into every last crevice of our lives? It seems the term work-life balance is going to become obsolete. There’s a good chance that the couple probably were texting and tweeting and checking in the entire date and not even getting to know each other. People are dialed in 24-7, work too hard, and can’t get away from technology. Can’t you drive home with a great song on the radio and not have to be on Facebook?

But I wanted to take an alternative viewpoint than everyone else.

Entertainment in the car has always evolved. Sure, there are Ferraris and Porsches that don’t have a radio, because the low, sweet sound of the engine gurgling and roaring is all a true driver needs to hear.

But we’ve gone from AM-only, to AM/FM, and then progressed from physical 8-Tracks to cassettes to CDs to multi-CD changers. There has always been a bond between a car and the music.

But now things have gone digital. We have satellite radio, iPod connectors, GPS systems with talking voices, and even video game systems and DVD players to entertain passengers.

Getting Facebook updates in your car is just the next step in the evolution of two trends we’ve been seeing for the last decade or more.

1) When it comes to entertainment, people want to consume what they want, where they want it, and when they’re ready.

That’s why we listen to podcasts on the subway, TV shows on computers, newspapers on iPads, and Saturday Night Live on DVR Sunday morning.

2) Social media is the new form of media.

There was a time when people read magazine or newspapers, or watched the evening news or the Tonight Show. Now people are spending hours per day, every day, with social media.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Twitter or Facebook or Blogs, this is entertainment to many many people in 2011. What’s more, it’s personal.

Some people have long commutes or drive for a living. If it’s just a voice talking about the day’s events, what’s the difference if it’s yapping sports talk show hosts talking about the Super Bowl, NPR breaking down the political status in Egypt, Eminem stringing together rap lyrics, or your close friends and family talking about the events of the day.

In fact, having Facebook in your car is kind of like a first date. There’s a lot of unknowns, it seems awkward and exciting at the same time, and only time will tell if things will work out.


What do you think? Ridiculous idea or sign of things to come? Hit me up on Twitter under the name @Hopkinson Report

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