Archive for the ‘ Automotive journalism ’ Category

Aston Martin: the power of PR within automotive journalism

By Mark Griffiths

For decades Journalism and PR have endured a chalk and cheese relationship: “There’s an essential tension that is caused by the constantly shifting balance of power- a classic love-hate relationship” (Barry, 2002, 60). Focusing on this delicate rapport, this paper explores the reporting of the 2009 Aston Martin Cygnet city car project and its reception within UK media. Contextualizing the use of Pr and media coverage shall also see me explore historical and contemporary examples within the automotive industry, ultimately emphasizing the interrelation of these two industries.

Like many young boys, Corgi’s Aston Martin DB5 with ejector seat was a favourite toy of mine. It represented everything an Aston Martin should be, cool, sophisticated and unlike a full size DB5, was affordable. The corgi DB5 helps convey many notions about Aston Martin and its successful alignment with the James Bond phenomenon. It also suggests its positive portrayal within the media, something we shall expand upon later. To begin we must look at the brand within recent contexts and changes of ownership. In turn we shall introduce the 2009 Cygnet city car project, exploring the influence of PR and media coverage whilst also interpreting how successful the venture has been juxtaposed to other mediated brand developments. Continue reading


CAR 2.0: What does the future hold for a monthly automotive magazine?

By Sam Burnett

There’s something quite exciting about a magazine. Not the work producing it, but the sitting down and reading it. The smell, the feel, the discovery of what’s inside;the knowledge of being part of something bigger, knowing that there are thousands of other people sat opening, smelling, exploring their magazine.

It’s also quite apt that as I pull together some thoughts for this article that Tim Pollard, associate editor of CAR magazine, blogs about the excitement of a magazine (Pollard 2010). I wanted to look at what the future might hold for a magazine like CAR, faced with the challenge of the digital age. The internet is onto 4G or 3.0 or 3D whatever new experience is out there waiting to be experienced, but what about the magazine? They print them more colourful, much glossier, filled with pictures, they tweak the designs and they fiddle about with fonts, but what does magazine 2.0 look like? Continue reading

The Rise and fall of Top Gear?

By John O’Brien

The rise and rise in popularity of the BBC’s Top Gear, is both undeniable and unprecedented. So much so that people I grew up with, who have no interest in cars, or anything even slightly automotive related, are now avid viewers of the programme.

The Top Gear name is synonymous with motoring journalism, but is it for the right reasons? The watered down road tests now play second fiddle to three larger than life personas, heavily scripted jokes and general tom foolery: a distant cry from the early days of Quentin Wilson offering his opinion on whether an 8v Golf GTi was a better buy than a 16v.

But in attracting this larger audience, has the programme lost its way, the off the cuff witty humour that made it trendy and more importantly, alienated those viewers who made it popular in the first instance? Or has it had the opposite affect to this? In bringing in newer and younger viewers, has Top Gear opened up the world of motoring to thousands of children and the general public? Continue reading

Television. Is it really enough anymore?

By Alex Kersten

In an age of the obese, violence obsessed and the iPad, it seems that television will no longer satisfy the needs of today’s ever-evolving society. With web television now offering such a vast array of specialist subjects, spending a daily average of five hours in front of the box just isn’t doing it for us anymore. So where are consumers turning to, to get their much needed fix?

For those with an interest in any given subject, the internet has precisely what the customer is after. The amount of people doing hard time in jail proves this point rather uncomfortably. With videos of violence, pornography and terrorism posted every second, it seems that the internet has no limits. It seems also that internet programmes have society well and truly in their grip, especially the younger, more malleable generations. According to a survey by YouGov, over half of 18 to 24 year-olds watch series online, compared with 12 per cent of those over 55. More than one-third of 18 to 24 year-olds also say they expect to watch more online TV in the future.

‘James Kennedy, of YouGov’s Media Consulting team, likens the growth of online TV to the way the music industry was ‘revolutionised’ through the advent of sites that allowed users to download tracks for free’ ( Continue reading

The Heat of Combustion – How the car industry shot itself in the face

By Karl Berridge

Part one: “Oil”

For the last 100 years the car industry has quite rightly been concerned with selling vehicles.  Currently in the world today there are over 750 million cars (world ometers:2010) driving around and tooting their horns and it’s believed that figure will double within the next 30 years meaning  there will be over a billion people in the world all with the want and right to own a car.

This is a problem, there are no serious plans in any country to accommodate such an increase in vehicles and crucially the oil which powers them is finite. This is not to say the world will run out of oil, but it will run out of cheap oil as demand starts to outstrip supply. Once easily accessible and tradable oil reserves start to deplete; countries and oil companies will start to move into the mining and drilling of less accessible, unrefined oil. Alongside increased demand the price of oil will rise dramatically and have a disastrous effect on the global economy.  Gradually the price of oil will become economically unviable as the worlds dominate transport fuel. Currently the most optimistic resea Continue reading

Automotive Magazines and New Media

By Mark Rainford

Issues in today’s magazine industry

Printed media has seen a steady decline in circulation figures in recent years. On top of increasing numbers of people finding their news on the internet, the global recession also hit in 2008. “One of the major casualties of the recession has been the media itself,” said John Mair (2009:76). The rise of the internet is the primary reason for falling sales figures because people are able to choose the news they want to read and they can do it all without leaving their armchair. In addition they can find television programmes, music, videos and more online. The resultant content overload means shorter attention spans and a deadly war for easier and more effective ways of presenting information is raging on a daily basis.

However, despite the inevitable difficulties the magazines face it should be noted that the internet cannot replace the key qualities which make people purchase motoring magazines in the first place: reputation and access. The internet may promise information on almost anything in history but it doesn’t get people any closer to the supercars, group tests and breaking car news that they seek to find in magazines. For this reason the internet should not be seen as a problem for magazines but more of a change of direction (Dewdney and Ride 2006) and motoring magazines are already embracing the new technology and reaching out to an ever-increasing audience. Continue reading