Commentary: Duran Duran? What a Great Idea!

"Baby, you could drive my car! - Simon Le Bon - Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations
"Baby, you could drive my car!" – Simon Le Bon – Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

I do not go to a lot of new car reveal events, but when I do…

The problem with reveals is the show. How much show can you incorporate into the launch event. Budget be damned, you have to have the show.

Chrysler made a show out of their reveals from the 1980s onward. They smashed new vehicles through windows, had them climb "rocks" on stage and other shenanigans. As an offshoot of his time managing the "Merger of Equals," Dr. Dieter Zetsche had no qualms including celebrities as part of recent Mercedes-Benz pressers. In 2013, Infiniti hired Cirque de Soleil to help reveal the Q50 in Detroit. The night before, I was amongst those witnessing the birth of the C7 Corvette Stingray to the tune of a piped in brand with a single unplugged guitarist.

Sometimes you have to ask "where's the show?" We certainly got one just recently…

This was exactly the case with the reveal of the ND generation of the Mazda MX-5 Miata due for the 2016 model year. The faithful gathered on the Monterey Peninsula as part of the celebration of the roadster's 25th Anniversary. They streamed this event to three other satellite locations in the USA, Japan and Spain. Then, it was aired by streaming via YouTube. It was going to be an extravaganza.

Why, yes, it was. They got the car out of the way – more on that at a latter date. Then, Mazda segued into Duran Duran. Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor jumped on stage as it was 1989. LeBon started with a quip from The Beatles: "Baby, you can drive my car." The first song was "A View to a Kill." They went into "Girls on Film" afterwards. Just like 1989?

You see – that was a show! That is what we auto scribes want. Give us the car, give us time to talk to the manufacturer's folks afterwards, but please entertain us! You do not have bring Duran Duran to the party, but we like that kind of thing.

We car folks do not just live in a singular universe where the soundtrack comes from the exhaust system. That is why we have audio systems. That is why we care if the Bluetooth can stream music files from our iPhones with high fidelity. This is why we flood every preset with our favorite SiriusXM channels.

Perhaps, Cirque and Yasmin Le Bon's husband were worthy entertainment for us. It got to think a little bit…if a manufacturer has the budget, what would we like to see with our vehicle debut extravaganzas?

ONE MORE TIME FOR THE CRUE! While Dodge may have ran through their introductions so far, they have to do something in celebration of their sponsorship of Motley Crue's final tour. How about one more show? A showcase full of driving Hellcat-powered Chargers and Challengers. I heard Vince Neil used to do some motorsport earlier in his career. We also like booth babes. There should be enough for Tommy Lee to hang around with. I'm sure Nikki and Mick wouldn’t mind hanging with us until get on stage and run through their hits. Then…it's over. Their career's done. Just for us!

THEY MIGHT JUST SELL A FEW THIS WAY: Mercedes-Benz may be selling their newest wares with Alabama Shakes and Mayer Hawthorne, but we need to get real here. Lincoln needs to sell a ton of cars. How? Old School Hip-Hop! If selling the 1980s is a way to connect with established consumers from Generation X, what about bringing back the coolest artists from that era. Think Monie Love, Dana Dane, De La Soul, Chubb Rock…maybe a reunion with The Leaders of The New School (Busta Rhymes old group). Imagine having an Old School concert introducing the new MKX? You have Dana and another hip hop legend in the back seat of the MKX with…you guessed it…Monie in the middle.

NISSAN AND NASHVEGAS: Why hasn't Nissan utilized the region around their headquarters near Nashville fully? It means two things: Grand Ol' Opry and the biggest stars of country music. With the new Titan coming up, would it be great to be corporate citizens and introduce the new full-sized pickup with, say, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, and/or Jason Aldean? Get someone contemporary go blast out a show, then let Fred Diaz take over. That would make the hometown crowd proud.

THE KIDS LOVE THAT EDM…WHAT IS IT CALLED? Electronic Dance Music is the new flavor. In some way, the younger auto journos are listening to it as their soundtrack. Conversely, some of these artists love cars. Deadmau5 had a supercar that he put a videogame motif on. Why not marry both what the kids like and what they like – simple? Then again, we have to determine which brands EDM fans would most likely buy. Once you make the match, now bring that bit of Ibiza to your launch and see where it goes…

YOU COULD ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE CLASSICS: Luxury cars…or, rather, cars that have luxury aspirations…could offer a simple formula to entertain the assembled throng of the jaded. A string quartet always work. A reed quartet, as well…we love seeing bassoons and oboes! Something denoting the luxury buyer that engages with the right tones from its high end audio system. You might go with a jazz trio or quartet. Mercedes-Benz has a piano solo by Bruce Hornsby one year, along with some of his bandmates doing a rendition of "The Way It Is." Again, sooth the soul to introduce something elegant and wonderful – for once.

Now, I am not a PR person. If I was, I would be fired if any of these ideas fail. I'm sure my friends at Mazda were being lauded with heaps of praise from last night's ND generation MX-5 debut. It was a sensation for both the car and Duran Duran.

Which one did you care for the most from that night?

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