Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Volvo Promotes "Leftist Bumper Sticker Delete" Option on New Models

For the first time since 1983, Volvo will be offering buyers the choice to purchase new cars without politically-charged left wing sticker affixed to the rear. Contrary to popular belief, almost all new Volvos sold today come equipped with free dealer-installed stickers, a result of exhaustive customer surveys of Vermont liberal arts professors in 1981-82. Late in 2010, a recent college graduate and Volvo marketing assistant brought the notion of "sample bias" to the attention of her superiors. A few months later, the company's marketing team quietly made the correction.

While buyers have long been able to choose from "Bright Blue Dot in a Really Red State," a pictographic of the word "Coexist," and "Kerry Edwards," most buyers were unaware that such decals were optional. Volvo hopes to rectify this misconception as a part of a broader push into new demographics, including Top Bracket Taxpayers, Obama Critics, and People Who Wouldn't Go Further Left Than Subaru or Maybe VW.

Left to right: Fully-equipped V70; C30 with Sticker Delete

"I just figured it was part of the elitist New England mentality required to own a Volvo," says suburban Kansas City mother Kathy Bryant of her 2006 XC70. "I usually vote Republican or Independent, but never realized I had any control over what my car was saying to other drivers."

Dallas-based trucker Jimmy Shoals echoes, "I always thought those Germans [sic] made some pretty nice cars, but I'd probably get my ass kicked for driving one into the parking lot. My church is pretty serious about that stuff."

Volvo hopes to further distance itself from politicization with their new "Blood for Oil" campaign, offering customers 10 free gallons of gas for every pint of blood they donate to the American Red Cross. The company hopes the effort won't be misunderstood in the way Volkswagen's "W: The Engine" campaign was mistaken for an endorsement of former President George W. Bush. VW blames the misunderstanding for the complete failure of the Passat W8 and Phaeton W12 in the US market.

Fellow Swedish carmaker Saab, which recently broke free from years of GM ownership, has absolutely no plans to broaden its appeal. VP of product development Bjorn Larsen states, "On the contrary--we plan to go back to nothing but two-door hatchbacks, center console ignition, and a confusing series of dash buttons you've never seen in other cars." He claims this move will link Saab with its history and require a high IQ simply to operate the vehicle. "When it comes to elitism, we prefer a tangible and direct approach."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Germans Urge Creation of Motosport "Master Race"

In an effort to boost waning attendance at motorsport events, German promoters have been pushing for a so-called "Master Race." The series would feature the best German drivers from DTM, Le Mans, Formula 3, and other popular series in a single-model racing series. With every driver in an identical VW GTI, events would focus more heavily on driver skill over team politics or significant differences in budgets.

"Germany has tried similar concepts before, but without much long-term success," laments Juergen Mengele, director of promotions for Germany's famous Hockenheimring circuit. "We are very wary of such endeavors, but unemployment is very high and the economy is very bad at the moment. We are open to almost any improvement, no matter how difficult."

Charistmatic event promoter and entrepreneur Karl Koenig, often described as Germany's answer to England's flamboyant Richard Branson, has stepped up to fill a visionary leadership role in German racing. "For too long we have tolerated Formula 1, with their growing budgets and international appeal. It is time to purge our people of this boredom, malaise, and complacency. It is time to purify our motoring heritage and bring it back to the people!" His motto of "Ein Volkswagen, Eine Reise, Ein Fuhrer!" (One Volkswagen, One Tour, One Leader) has caused critics to note the dangerous parallels between Koenig and another rabidly popular historical figure, former US President George W. Bush. "At best, Koenig will do for us what Bush did for terrorism," says an anonymous contributor to Spiegel Online. "At worst, he'll do for us what Bush did for the English language."

Koenig has suggested an initial season of just seven races, beginning with a energetic Berlin road race and culminating with "Judgment at Nurburgring" to finish the series.

Often controversial, Mr. Koenig denies any involvement with the recent vandalism of foreign-owned auto dealerships across Germany. "I cannot be responsible for the actions of a few vigilantes. I admire their enthusiasm, but must encourage them to fight this battle through official means, such as winning sanctioned races and freezing competitors' assets while they're under a protracted investigation for money laundering."

FIA head Max Mosley is not threatened by the groundswell of support, though he acknowledges it could siphon fans away from Formula 1's perennial cash cow. "If Mr. Koenig wants to try, he has my blessing. Will he have women with uniforms and accents? That would be a very nice touch." F1 supporters accuse Mr. Mosley of appeasement, while British F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone states he would consider large-scale racing expansions into Italy, France, and even North Africa in order to contain Koenig's expansion. "We are also working with Russian promoters on several options in the East," Ecclestone continued. "We're not sure we trust them from a partnership standpoint, but we welcome their efforts to contain Koenig's expansion."

As of press time, several "viral" promotional racing posters had already been spotted around Prague and the surrounding countryside. Officials from the world's second-biggest racing series, America's NASCAR, are taking careful notes as they combat a three-year decline in viewership. Among fans, 71% recently reponded that they would "fully support" or "somewhat support" the creation of a master race here in the US. 17% of responses had unsolicited, written-in tirades criticizing "that Mexican [sic] Montoya" and similar comments.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Obama Fails to Report for Work at GMAC Call Center

For a third straight day, US President Barack Obama failed to show up for his second-shift assignment at the GMAC call center in Manassas, Virginia. His work at the call center is part of a little-known clause in the 2009 GM Federal bailout that requires the President to put in two non-consecutive weeks of work attempting to collect on delinquent accounts.

The President, last seen at New Employee Orientation on Jan. 3

Shift Supervisor Teresa Woods tells The Outside Line, "I have a lot of respect for Mr. Obama. I voted for him, and I was really excited he might do some of that Jedi mind stuff on our borrowers like he did on the voters. If the man would just show up, he'd be our top producer."

Ms. Woods then pointed to a dry-erase board on the wall, with "B-ROCK" scrawled at the bottom of the employee list, a series of zeroes next to it.

"We spent a lot of time getting him added to the timesheet system and developing his call script," she continued, handing us a copy of the President's personal script and talking points. GMAC feels that personalized call scripts lend a more human touch to an otherwise very repetitive and cookie-cutter role. Highlights of Mr. Obama's sheet include:

  • Excessive use of the word "look" in an attempt to gain attention and imply mutual understanding with the borrower
  • Repeated denials that he can use his "other job" to help borrowers delay payments--or to stop paying altogether
  • Rebuttals to nepotistic pleading, such as "Help a brother out" and "I thought you were down"
  • Personal, heartfelt insistence that the American taxpayers were counting on these payments to cover Medicare prescriptions
  • Threats to send black helicopters to the borrower's house in the middle of the night
  • Repeated assurance that he has the power to withhold increasingly larger sums of money from borrowers' paychecks

The call center's HR Director, who wished to remain anonymous, was unfazed. "We get a lot of no-shows and walk-outs in this business. I don't see why this guy would be an exception," adding, "The last thing I said to him was to please bring a copy of his birth certificate so we could finish his paperwork."