I am not trying to confuse you. Millennials have no idea what romancing the wheels is all about but their fathers and grandfathers get it. Back in time when the car led to personal power and freedom, advertising hijacked pure utility for base human instinct to sell more cars. The beauty of female models posing with cars led to calendars on every mechanic’s shop wall and TV and magazine ads showing romantic drive-in movies or high mountain top rest stops overlooking scenic valleys with the man’s arm around his girl.
Where is the marketing role for autonomous cars: do you see anything but pure digital mash-up? Do you foresee anything but date night “time-out” to reboot one of dozens of systems managing sensors, radar, GPS, screens and real-time other stuff? Really, potential lovers will soon be driven with a sense of having Silicon Valley CEO’s and engineers in the back seat and there is zero sex-appeal in such a world. It is high time marketing gets its act together by promoting romance amid computations and artificial intelligence. Back in the 1950’s the big V-8 implied brawn and strength for men. Bench seats gave us shared space and a convertible meant romantic star-gazing. The autonomous cars I’ve seen have a top-load that Santa Clause would hardly envy lugging gifts across the globe. Up on the rooftop of autonomous cars rests a flea market of small cameras and sensors on racks. Even so – the future is with Silicon Valley bearded young guys and venture capitalists going out on your date and, sadly, that isn’t appealing to our very sexualized culture. Marketers: where are you? Give men a bit of romance and possibility. Women are not wooed by a young man demonstrating tech prowess while downing his third energy drink after being up the previous night coding his autonomous car. “Oh Christopher, please do that Ctrl-Alt-F8&65-02v.4 for me again; please, one more time”. Auto makers – are you asleep at the wheel? Americans will never stop romancing their wheels. Market some romance!