Well it looks as if Pirelli have no option but to make 2014 tyres hard.

While a test was allowed after the season finished, only four teams turned up and the best they could offer was 2013 cars. Whether they were specially weighted with the down-force backed off we don’t know, the weights and downforce to 2014 regs could be simulated, but the massive increase in torque could not. So to play safe in uncharted waters Pirelli must make “concrete” tyres. That they are still here and not suing the behind off the FIA and certain teams is remarkable. They performed a miracle last year after Silverstone, it must have cost them a fortune. Will their patience stretch as far in 2014?

We (I) expect there to be huge issues with tyres overheating, wheels spinning under the the increased forces, which ought ideally to have been transmitted to much larger diameter and width wheels. A desperate seeking of Red Bulls apparent KERS traction control, which they deny exists but clearly gave Vettle a huge traction advantage over the field. Thinking back to what I said in August, I now realise that I was probably wrong to say that large wheels/tyres would weigh more, since presumably they would be low profile type. A change of springing would be needed to substitute for the relatively large percentage of suspension movement provided by the current high profile tyres.

Then there is the heating issue, or rather the cooling issue, not only do we have turbos enclosed within the engine cover but cables now transferring huge amounts of power. The regs limit the max Voltages to be used, so that means much higher current flow, thus I²R losses will be greater this year, these are mostly heat, turning each ERS cable into a heating element. Superconductivity would be ideal here but so far is not available without supercooling. Though at some time I expect to see a breakthrough in the use of Graphene in this field as well as it’s use in battery technology.

Another area which must be of huge interest to F1 is the new Pseudo Adiabatic Process engine developed by Research development firm, Revolutionary Technologies United, the engines will obviously be different but the adiabatic goal would be immensely helpful to F1. Not only would it remove some of the cooling problems but it makes the engine a lot more efficient, thus in turn saving fuel, thus in turn again lowering the necessary fuel load per race and allowing ballast to be placed where it is effective. I read about this in Racecar Engineering magazine, here is a link to the article. http://www.racecar-engineering.com/autosport-international/new-engines-to-play-it-cool/ .

At the time of writing (29Aug13) Pirelli are in an awkward position, they have recognised that the new turbo engines for 2014 will/could have a hugely increased torque output and quite sensibly told the teams that this will need a bigger contact patch with the track in order to utilise same.

Tyres of both greater width and diameter would be ideal and Pirelli have told the teams this, but of course if you have a bigger tyre your drive shaft is higher, your suspension is either anchored at different points or of a different geometry and the teams have already committed to the design of many parts of next year’s car.

Had there been the logical discussions about this at the time the rules were last being manipulated, this could have been taken into consideration and included in the 2014 designs. But Pirelli were being persecuted at the time, for attempting to test a compound for 2014. Teams were up in arms about the apparent illegal test.  The rules as then written did not allow any relevant testing to be done, indeed a 2014 car or one of equivalent torque and mass, balance  and suspension characteristics would be needed to make any meaningful tests, thus the tyre supplier was supposed to use a combination of guesswork, extrapolation, interpolation, and psychic foresight to produce tyres suitable for a completely different car of increased torque with new downforce levels etc in other words “the impossible”

There has been the undercurrent of Todt’s leaning towards Michelin, whom he favours over Pirelli. Of course for Michelin, being French is a major advantage while Todt remains in office. But, Michelin too have said that they would insist on 17inch or thereabouts rims along with everlasting tread compound.

Apparently Pirelli have contracts for 2014 with all the teams except Force India and also with Bernie, though why he is involved must surely be merely a matter of bandwagon jumping, ie he wants a slice of everything. In fact the rules say that the FIA has selected a tyre provider. The 2014 regs only refer to 2011/12/13 and then “A single tyre manufacturer will be chosen by the FIA for subsequent seasons following an invitation for tenders to supply tyres to all the cars entered in Championship Events for the duration of such subsequent seasons.  Thus making it quite clear that it is the FIA and not Bernie who is in charge of tyre supply. But then the FIA have not asked for tenders and have allowed Bernie to go ahead. So what does that mean?

The only people likely to be happy about all this are the lawyers, who will get even richer. Meanwhile we shall either have the wrong tyres on the wrong rims or no tyres at all.

Only when the wheel size has changed will it be possible to have the appropriate tyres for the new engines. BUT the larger tyres are about a foot greater in circumference and weigh more, so the unsprung weight increases, the gear ratios must change as must the diff and the suspension.

So next year is going to be a mess! Traction control could be an interim answer but it is banned! It will take another year to get it sorted and that is only if Todt deigns to break his enigmatic silence get off his behind and sort it out. Meanwhile the sponsors are evaporating as is Bernie.

I was reading TJ13’s blog the other day, there is a question over the new Caterham exhaust which has a gas guide vane in exit channel after the exhaust pipe itself ends. However in order to test the legality of this it will require careful measurement to establish whether it lies inside or outside the invisible cone which must be clear of bodywork from the very end of the pipe up to the rear wheel centreline. The easiest way to measure this (in this case) is to use a template/gauge. The ID of the exhaust pipe is probably the maximum allowed, so a template having a straight section of say 74.5mm width and 100mm length should fit into the pipe, then the cone can be added on the same axis. If I were doing the job I would probably use a flat template in 2 or 3 pieces. A straight-edge can be laid on the cone part in order to establish interference at greater distance.

However what this actually brought to mind was my early days at Pioneer, when on only my second day I was told I would be at a meeting with Alfa Romeo at Ambrosetti to discuss the installation of our (Pioneer) head units (radios/cassette combination units though Pioneer always called them “Stereos”) in all Alfa Cars imported to the UK. They would be installed at the import centre of Ambrosetti at Richborough opposite and just a few yards up the road from the power station, which had huge cooling towers. (demolished last year I think) Also about half a mile south of Pegwell Bay where the Hovercraft used to roam and was, maybe still is, home to a colourful Viking ship. Also not far from Sandwich. (nor from The Huntsman pub, Whisky and lemonade for Gordon, Perrier for Murdo and a pint for me, yes it was that long ago, when one could still have a drink at lunchtime, in fact it was quite normal if with customers)

I should set the background to this as follows:
This was a time when car radio was an optional extra when you bought a new car, but some manufacturers were starting to include a car radio/stereo in the car spec as standard or as a standard option. Around 80% of head units sold were as part of the car sale or within one month of car purchase.

Car radio/stereo was the highest value accessory the car dealer sold, and was a major profit source when margins on cars were very tight, indeed most only made any money on the car if it was a large or top end one, apart from that it was what was called “dealer support” than kept many going. So having it already fitted in fact robbed many dealers of a good income, BMW dealers in particular.

The regulations governing what could be fitted in a car differed according to whether it was OEM or aftermarket. This came down to whether it was part of the car spec (requiring Type Approval) or not. (Aftermarket came under “construction and use” regs, very rarely tested, though in theory any car on the road can be stopped and checked) In this case it meant that our head units, which were known for their flashy chrome knobs and levers, suddenly had to pass homologation including the internal protrusion regulations, something very far from the mind of their designer in Japan.

I cannot claim to remember the detail of the internal protrusion regulations but in general they specified that things in the car which could be contacted by either a “kneeform” or a 100mm dia ball must not be sharp. ie It must have minimum contactable radius. If contactable by the headform and having a protrusion of over 3m (I think) then in addition it had to be of a minimum cross-section and remain of said cross-section on application of a load.
The dashboard, where in each car the head unit was to be mounted, fell in the “headform” contactable area and was thus to be assessed using a “headform” To my knowledge at that time the DOT who carried out the tests did not possess a headform, in fact there were only two in the country, both owned by major motor manufacturers.

With more than a nod to the general panic of Italian organisation that I came to have an affection for in later years, the cars had to be homologated by a date only 4 working days away. These dates are usually dreamed up by sales or promotional people who neither know nor care about the amount of work necessary to get things done. Fortunately there used to be a brotherhood of sufferance amongst technical/practical people in the industry, thus under the auspices of this it was made possible that I arrived in the car park of the DOT at Bristol one grey Monday morning with a cardboard cutout of a headform.
[A head form was a 165MM dia ball. pierced by a 50mm dia displaceable cylinder having its axis at right angles to a tangent of its nominated front face. this provided a calibrated measurable displacement when applied to the item to be assessed. In normal tests the headform would be anchored to the frame representing a skeleton and fixed to the car at the hips or “H”points. ]

I also had my tools and the head units, but the problem was that the Pioneer units in those days were intended for aftermarket only and designed to be as flashy and gauche as possible resulting in a nightmare of chrome and sharp edges. So I did the only thing possible and installed the head units recessed a good 10mm further back than normal so that the headform did not touch them at all, however one applied it.
Thus the “We claim compliance….” got stamped “approved” by a bemused DOT engineer who commented that the compliance was very much to the letter rather than the spirit of the regulations.

Thus as it is in F1, it is all in how you write the regs that decides how easy it is to circumvent them. Though in later years, as head units became fitted as OEM, the knobs and buttons all got flatter and wider and designed to shear off under impact. (At least for those who were OEM oriented, Pioneer lagged behind for a long time)

I tried to check the old internal protrusion regs as I wrote this but all I could find was a modern document that has been “EUised” it is here in case anyone is feeling obsessive, I have not checked how much it differs from what we used 30 odd years ago. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31974L0060:EN:HTML

I am happy to note that Ambrosetti is still there on the same site, (though with different owners) still in the same business of PDI and rectification, but part of a much larger group. http://www.ambrosetti.co.uk/services.php
I wonder if they could still do the job they did back all those years ago on all the old Alfas, PDI, Rectification, special paint, badges etc. Underseal with grillaguard or whatever the nasty black gunge was called (the guys had a less than complimentary name for it) fitting head units, loudspeakers, grilles and antennas all from scratch, wiring it all up, there was no radio prep in those days. (yes we drilled metal then too and we had cars still in wax!)

Looking back now they did a huge job very well, though at the time 30 years ago there was no other option.
I used to go down to Ambrosetti once a month and do a quality check on the installations in the car park of several hundred cars, (hence the reason I have a high vis jacket that still sits in my car.) the guys all worked in pairs and left their initials on the job cards in each car. I used to produce a results table identifying Type, chassis nr, each part of the job (which would be annotated with any fault) and the team initials, then pin it on the workshop notice board. There was some ribbing of each other but all taken in good heart. Cars with faults had to be rectified by the guys that made the error. (I think they were paid per car then so it cost them to make mistakes) Very rarely did anyone need re-training or bitch about being found at fault. One thing I found was that in most of the import centres where we had units being fitted, with either a colleague or myself having done the initial training, the guys doing the job always found better or faster ways of doing it. (and maintaining quality) There is always a huge amount of ingenuity, knowledge and talent on the shop floor which goes largely unrecognised and unrewarded. I learned a lot of respect for the guys doing those jobs, they were there often because that’s all the work there was around, but they made the most of it. Though initially, I may have shown them what to do, there is no way I could have done it myself, all day, all week, all month. So if any guys who worked at Ambrosetti Richborough, fitting Pioneer stereos into Alfas 30 years ago should read this, I salute you.

I think I have sussed Merc’s new cunning plan. it is quite simple really:
Merc will employ everybody in F1, thus leaving nobody to work in other teams.
This may sound expensive but with the Bernie money for winning, it should easily cover the extra cost.

I was not in a good mood to start with but, reading last weeks Moneyweek over breakfast today I found in “Tabloid Money” the small article about the squirrel rescued by seven firemen and three fire engines. Apparently the episode cost £6000!

Ridiculous, how can it possibly cost £6000?  Let me see a cost breakdown please.

I am willing to bet that at least 50 % of the cost is due to Blair’s thousands of spurious laws that micro manage all aspects of our life.  One can only hope that we exit the EU and dump all laws that were imposed by Blair in the name of eliminating common sense. Firemen not allowed to slide down poles any more because after hundreds of years it is suddenly dangerous. Firemen’s beds taken away  and replaced by armchairs which they are not allowed to use until they have been specially trained. They did not want the armchairs and needed their sleep on standby which they no longer get. Thus they are uncomfortable stressed and tired. Well done!

Still that’s what Blair did to most of the country, left us uncomfortable, stressed and tired, oh, and poorer, after selling our country to Belgium to rule over, the only bit of his plan to go wrong is that he did not get to be President, to lord it over us himself, but he has made up for it by getting sickeningly rich. He was sent to the middle east as a european peacemaker, that went well !!  It revealed his true capabilities to the world. Was it just perversity that made him change religion to the one most hated in the middle east before he went there?

But who is it that quotes these gigantic, out of all proportion figures for all incidents involving public services? Is it perhaps the same sort of people who commission government projects or buy defence technology. The people who seem totally ignorant of what the purpose is and keep adding to the spec. That’s why we have Typhoons, fighters with no guns in them (whereas the Tornado did) but  they must also be Bombers with no bomb bays. GR and air defence too,

I speculated upon what sort of animal these people would have designed when asked for a sheep to grow wool. They would then ask that the same animal gave cows milk, and provided beef and bacon. (An Alpaca is probably the best compromise)

Look at the Bowman radio for our troops, it doesn’t work in anything but flat open terrain if both transmitter and receiver stand up and can see each other. It weighs ten times what the US equivalent does and theirs works, man to man, man to aircraft, man to tank/artillery , man to command post or FOB. Ours doesn’t,  but it cost about ten times what it should and took ten times longer that it should have to reach operational service. I would have all those involved in it tried for treason and shot, well maybe just shot!

One of the hazards of a democracy I suppose that only totally ignorant politicians and their staff are allowed to handle projects. Expertise is bought willy nilly and assessed by the same incompetents in charge, very very slowly, with as many expense account dinners as possible. Making a decision is put off for as long as possible in order to postpone the fateful day their incompetence is exposed.  The principles of “Yes Minister” are very much alive and costing us about 75% of every government  project.



Diesel Particulate filters, are the means by which the modern generation of diesels achieve very low levels of soot emissions. You will find them on a now rapidly increasing overall percentage of cars on the road as new highly efficient diesels replace a lot of petrol engines. They have become respectable, middle managers, even department heads now drive diesels, but very few are aware of the consequences.

Firstly the DPF does not work until it has reached operating temperature, this takes on most affected cars, a good 20 minutes of steady high speed (for a diesel) constant driving, eg. on a motorway. The DPF collects the particles on wet surfaces, but every so often regenerates by burning/blowing out the accumulated muck in a black cloud, very nice, very clean!

If one does not regularly do journeys of 20 miles fast cruise then the thing does not get hot enough to work and instead it clogs up, an error is then shown on the car’s monitoring system. Apparently at this stage you are stuffed, the DPF cannot be cleaned by any normal method** and it needs replacing, and your car’s computer re-setting. Around £1500-£1800 per car or more for some makes.

**There are some places offering a cleaning service using  ultrasound equipment but theses are few and far between and not cheap. One also has to consider the terms of the car’s guarantee.

It is true that one can have the DPF removed from the exhaust system and the car’s software hacked so as not to look for the sensor/sender, but this would of course invalidate the car warranty. (and probably increase the insurance, it is definitely a modification which if undeclared could mean an excuse not to pay a claim.) Though currently apparently, this is legal in the UK, it is rumoured that the MOT law will be soon changed to say that anything which changes the exhaust emission output from the factory spec is not allowed.

So folks that is why, in spite of  the approx two to three times advantage in mpg I have just bought a petrol engined car.  (Update: very disappointing petrol mpg so far)  I do a very low annual mileage nowadays, so do many of the people who have unwittingly bought a DPF cost time  bomb.

I only know about this because my nephew runs a garage and now spends around 30% of his time replacing DPFs.

If you are buying a new diesel car or one built in the last few years be sure to ask if it has a DPF and ask what mileage you need to do to keep it working correctly.

This will be the same sort of scandal as car owners finding they have no spare wheel, just a can of temporary re-inflation gunge, little use if one has a blowout. Spare wheels are an option now!


I am what most, perhaps would consider, abnormally disdainful of football, it stems from my childhood.

I was thin and weedy as a child, I did not like eating, I can remember being taken to the doctor’s because I ate “Not enough to keep a sparrow alive”, however the doctor was unconcerned when he heard that I did eat bread or toast with dripping and Marmite. (That would still be a favourite if one could afford a big piece of beef and hence the dripping.) He also said my pulse was so slow that I would never have any heart problems, I am now on Beta blockers, but it was still slow anyway. He also said that I have poor circulation which is very true. He was always getting arrested for speeding and was in the local paper nearly every week.

Footballs were made of leather and very heavy, done up with laces which would leave a imprint or cut wherever they hit you, in wet weather the leather absorbed a lot of water and became twice as heavy.

Obviously being a 4 stone weakling, looking like two xylophones glued together back to back, I was not keen on PE, but the real anathema was “Games”, these were enforced regardless of weather conditions in the school playing field one afternoon per week.  The large yobbos I spent my time avoiding in the playground and corridors took full advantage here. A football kicked with even moderate force could easily knock me over, usually inflicting heavy bruising as well. I was in pain from the start however because I had chilblains on all my fingers and toes, which hurt like hell especially if touched. I was quite normal for me to have at least 6 or 8 bandages on burst chilblains on both fingers an toes. It was difficult to write or concentrate over the pain. . On the football field, in  shorts and vest with heavy leather football boots and shin pads my main concern as I endured my chilblain pain, was the ball coming in my direction. The ball would be followed by a mob which would kick me and knock me over on the frozen ground, so my reaction was to kick the ball as far away as I could in any direction, this of course hurt my foot,  I had no objective except survival and not getting any more hurt than normal. Being weedy was an attraction to bullies.  In the summer for a couple of months I was free of chilblains, but then it was cricket season, which meant standing in the field trying not to get hit and consequently knocked out by the ball, the equivalent of a 5 pounder cannon ball. I used to play aeroplanes to pass the time, making sure I was never close enough to catch the ball which would practically take one’s hand off.

I can remember people saying that I needed to plunge my hands from bowls of hot water to cold and back in order to increase circulation. They had no idea! The pain of the change of temperature just coming indoors from  outside was almost unbearable, the only treatment was Zambuck a sort of Tiger Balm, totally ineffective.

I still get the damn things even now but not nearly as bad.

For me football has always been associated with violence, and pain.

The era of  organised football fan/thug violence only confirmed my  impression, I am reminded of one of JG Ballard’s books “Kingdom Come”, which captures the dark background against which I picture football.

You may be surprised then to hear of me, aged about early forties, attending a midweek evening match at Ipswich a hundred and forever miles away. It was the era of  electrical goods manufacturers sponsoring half the first division teams, thus we had Philips playing Sanyo, Clarion playing Hitachi etc (I would suggest that made a lot more sense than F1 teams sponsoring football teams) My employer sponsored Ipswich. I was coerced into going by my boss. (A larger than life character in the industry and a good friend. Noted for his entrance at dealer conferences to the background of Carly Simon’s “Nobody does it better”)  After an interminable drive we arrived at the Ipswich ground and drove straight to the VIP parking space, then in via the team entrance and to the director’s box. I felt safely out of the way of the ball and rushing mob up there, in fact it all looked a long way down in the distance. At half time we all had soup and were introduced to Bobby Robson who became England manager the next year, I had no idea who he was nor was interested really. After the match finished everybody in the box disappeared quite rapidly, but my boss wanted to go for a drink, but that’s another story. So I have to admit that football is bearable from the director’s box in the warm.

Alpine in the docks

I have the uneasy feeling that I have written about this before, but anyway…..

All those years ago, it must be about 25 or so now, I could not understand Stephen’s admiration of mass production. He was manager of the two Renault import centres, theses were at Goole and Southampton western docks. In that era I spent a lot of my life in various car import centres/docks around the country.

We had talked about the new Alpine I was very keen to see it, he was indifferent but had one unblocked for me (they used to have wooden blocks in the coil springs to prevent the car moving about during the boat trip) and we went for a drive around the docks, while he extolled the virtue of the ability to make thousands of  cars identical. I could not find any enthusiasm for mass production, I wanted to see “hand  built”.

The 3 metre or so concrete slabs that formed the roads inside the docks were fairly slippery in the damp of Southampton and gave a hard thunk each time we ran across the joins with the Alpine’s fairly stiff suspension, so it was not all that much fun to drive but interesting nonetheless. We could drive up as far as the Fiat import centre and then back past the fizzing main electrical distribution centre for the region, full of pylons with blue arcs around almost everything. One could just hold a fluorescent tube up in the air and it would light.
So roll on quite a few years and two employers later, when you are trying to get the first run production of a product to behave as the prototypes did, but they keep being rejected.  In this case it was a two part moulding and an “O” ring seal, it is then that one begins to think of the virtue of having everything the same by the ten thousand. The part in question worked very well in prototype, they sat me in the back of the vehicle and reversed into the rain test booth. A tropical storm then happened and we sat in the pounding rain for 10 minutes, I got a wet leg from the leaky rear door seal, but my product sealing a hole in the roof worked ok.

I had said from the start we should not have been doing the job at all, it was by way of ingratiation of the people at Solihull whom we wanted to buy our regular type of product, but the boss said yes against my protests.. We had originally sent in a similar product used by GM and it was liked but obviously it could not be supplied to Solihull as quite apart from the moral and legal issues, it had a GN logo on it. So I designed a slightly different version which would have been better had it been made properly.

There are lots of things that can go wrong with mouldings starting with using the wrong material, I have always been sure that was the cause but the moulder said not. He was a friend of the boss so difficult to pursue.  Any way if you have a 12 year old Disco without GPS and a leaky roof blanking plug that’s why.

Or will it be Bernie’s current crop of CAs that slowly strangle it?

In the last few years the rules have curtailed much of the primary development in F1, if you want to see innovation at it’s most spectacular and you are starting to look now, you were born too late, it happened and it was revolutionary in all sorts of ways and then it was banned. Now what we have left is “aero effects” and electricity, oh and the new power units in 2014. There is some room for development there but if anyone makes a leap forward in design it will be banned. As the rules get tighter each year so innovation is stifled. Thus the new “xyz” with 6 wheels, double chassis, or active suspension or ground effect or abs or anti dive will not be providing the interest and excitement for fans. We are now looking at innovation bringing an advantage that cannot be measured with an analogue stopwatch any more, you need a digital one and a digital finger (a digital digit!)

So unless reasonable development of the new engines and ERS is allowed, we cannot rely upon the technology to hook the mass audience, the devotees yes, but are there enough of them? Or does it matter?

The setup now is that the circuits and the tv companies pay FOM each year for the right to stage a race and put it on tv in some form or other. Bernie has tied up those deals for the next 8 years (I think, it may be 7 for some and much longer for others) so FOM is guaranteed that income. This was the package to be offered in the partial float, a viable guaranteed income for a given period. Just exactly what was to be floated was never revealed, whether it was Delta Topco or Delta Prefco or both or another new non voting holding instrument.

We know that tv audiences have fallen, Karen who sometimes comments in Joe Saward’s Blog has quoted figures. In the UK there is a huge fall in F1 tv audiences with the BBC coverage cut by 50%, but the whole series now being on Sky. Next year the same move to Sky happens in Italy, land of the Tiffosi, I predict a strong reaction when it hits home there.  The paltry Sky viewing figures can surely not attract advertisers. Does Sky survive on it’s subscriptions or on its advertisers?

The high cost of entry and grandstands at the circuits, a necessity to help towards the gigantic FOM fees, is putting off a lot of the low to middle income fans who would love to go but simply cannot afford it. With F1 moving to countries further away, even the hardcore fans must have second thoughts about the cost.

Eventually the total audience will be permanently reduced. Will sponsors see any benefit in chucking the vast amounts of promotional money at a reducing and ever more distant sport?   It could be a slow death, with sponsors gradually realising that their message is reaching a shrinking target. Unless something is done I would offer a guess at 5 years before teams have to withdraw for lack of sponsorship.

Then there is the new F1 Strategy Group formed of 6 team representatives, 6 from the FIA and 6 from FOM. This one could speculate is the “Number of the Beast” (excepting QI fans who know it is 616 and AE Van Vogt fans who know it is way different)

This new group which replaces both the technical and sporting working groups will decide, well, everything including the rules. not only that, but only a straight majority is required, looks like Ferrari have lost their rules veto.

The worrying thing about this is that as far a rules are concerned it virtually gives Bernie a free hand, he needs only to persuade 4 FIA people and the teams are scuppered. We all know how good Bernie is at persuading people.  He has already said there will be no “electric only in the pit lane”  which is of course contrary to what is written in 5.19 of the 2014 technical regs. So has he sought a rule change in the first meeting of the F1SG or is he just confident that he can do whatever he wants regardless? (I would bet on the latter)

As I said in Joe’s blog I think the F1SG is very dangerous for F1 and for the teams in particular. It fundamentally changes the balance of power in Bernie’s favour, (which he no doubt sold as 3 way equality) and could it be contrary to the conditions imposed by the EU commission?

I tend to watch tv ads, often not at all, or with half an eye and little attention, even so what I would reckon to be “good” ads would still leak though my defences.

I heartily agree with Sir Alan Sugar in the ideal content of tv ads, show them a benefit, then the product that offers it, tell them what it is and why they need it. Then where to get it and possibly how much it is to buy.

Some ads are obviously the result of “artistic” competition between agencies, with the product either not being mentioned or so obliquely referenced that the ad is a complete waste of money, but the ego of its directors upheld.

Any ad that has not shown me either the product or it’s benefit after 15 seconds is a write-off as far as I am concerned.

Corporate “feel good ” ads can be very airy fairy and annoying unless they are clever and hold one’s attention, but to me if you do not know what they are being clever about, it is a waste of the seconds up until the reveal.  Far better for me to associate the customer or corporation with the cleverness for the whole ad than have it stuck on at the end as an afterthought.

Papa, Nicole and family/lovers were some of the best ever car ads,  but probably could not be shown on uk tv today lest some Mary Whitehouse type objected to lovers being admitted on tv. More likely though, the objection would be that none of the relationships were gay, which seems to be compulsory nowadays.

I can now remember that it was Cinzano that Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins  were flogging, but for years I could never say whether it was Campari or Dubonnet instead. But yes we remember “Do ‘av a Dubonnet”

I have been sitting here with a bad man cold “dying” this morning with the tv on and I cannot remember a single ad from the whole morning’s tv.

Just as I wrote that there was “proper” ad for Flash, it showed the product on screen the whole time and then several benefits in action. That was followed by Garnier ultra something which showed a lot of faces but no ID until the last second. no idea what the product did.

Ads should work equally well with the sound off,.Many of us old gits are deaf and have the subtitles on, so subtitle availability in the right position on the screen could help. One should also have the sound track usable  on it’s own.

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