The dating game
You've got to admit, it was quite an unusual pairing.
Mercedes-Benz USA and Match.com teamed up to take advantage of what they said is the unique relationship between people and cars. The dating Web site noted that according to its survey of more than 1,400 singles, 66 percent reported automobiles play a role in revving up the animal magnetism factor.
So the two firms held a ``Wheels of Attraction'' event in Miami Aug. 27 that drew more than 100 Match.com members.
Singles got five-minute dates behind the wheel of a new Mercedes, with potential mates taking each other for a spin. The affair (perhaps that's not the best choice of words) was an extension of the ``LoveMercedes Tour'' in which the car maker is taking nine of its vehicle models to 12 cities across the U.S.
One Wheels participant said she was impressed when two of her dates opened the car door for her (who said chivalry is dead?). But she admitted another guy ``was a little aggressive behind the wheel,'' which made her nervous-though she was glad it was a side of him ``that I probably wouldn't have seen if we hadn't been in the car.''
There were, however, no reports about the luxurious Mercedes back seats.
This 'n that
Quote du jour-Western writer Will Henry observed: ``The wishbone will never replace the backbone.''
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``Fine'' dining?-Whether you're marketing tires or an eatery, you need a catchy name to ``get 'em in the door,'' right? Slap a name like ``Dominator'' (Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.) or ``Dobermann'' (Tube & Solid Tire Ltd.) on a sidewall and you're exuding an image of a tough, snarling competitor.
Great restaurant names are much the same. Put on your bib and try these on for size, courtesy of the Nation's Restaurant News: ``A Salt and Battery,'' a fish and chips joint in New York City; ``Trailer Park Lounge,'' a New York eatery that specializes in inexpensive comfort food; and ``Wholly Mackerel,'' a St. Louis surf and turf bistro.
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Be the first on your block-In honor of the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa, the BMW Group is producing 10 limited edition 3-Series cars to be personally signed by one-time dissident Nelson Mandela, that nation's former president.
Sale of the so-called ``Democracy Cars'' will be used to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which assists disadvantaged children and youth in South Africa. BMW said the fund also ``informs the public about the social and economic challenges they face.'' (Wouldn't they already know about them?)
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Can you hear me now?-It's said that ``sex sells,'' but apparently so does religion.
The ``headlines'' humor section on Jay Leno's ``Tonight Show'' Web site has a picture of an ad from AT&T Wireless and a Baptist church that beckons: ``Accept Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior before Jan. 1, 2004, and receive a free digital phone!'' The cell phones in the ad have neat little crosses on their screens.
We're not sure if people who waited until Jan. 2 faced higher charges or more, uh, permanent penalties.
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Phew-Finally...the survey you've been holding your breath for: Gillette Oral Care, makers of brushing and flossing paraphernalia, has released the results of its ``Oral-B Hummingbird Workplace Offender Survey.''
The company said the study's goal was to ``shed light on Americans' sometimes unhealthy oral care habits at work.'' And the ``plaque and white'' findings (hey, that's cute) revealed that bad breath ranked No. 1 among its workplace violations. Actually the real goal is probably to sell more of the new Hummingbird gizmo, which comes with interchangeable attachments such as a gentle flosser and soft, mint-flavored dental pick. (Sounds more like a vacuum cleaner.)
No service bay tool box should be without one. Ask for the special pin-striped NASCAR version with 5W-30-flavored pick. Oh...you know we're kidding, don't you?
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Yeah, he really said that-Setting himself up for a nice sleep wit da fishes, Ford Motor Co. Chief Operating Officer Jim Padilla cracked wise about the new Ford Five Hundred sedan that goes on sale later this year.
``You can get eight sets of golf clubs in the trunk. Or, if you're from New Jersey, four or five dead bodies,'' he quipped. Is that the sound of Tony Soprano we hear preparing a concrete overcoat?
Just wild about Harry
For years whenever we needed the sound perspective of a well-respected tire and rubber industry analyst, Tire Business often turned to Harry Millis.
Then, sadly, Harry decided to adopt that dreaded ``R'' word: retirement.
Well, we're happy to report that for the third time in a career exceeding 40 years, the 67-year-old Mr. Millis has returned to ply his skills as a partner at investor relations consulting firm Clear Perspective Group L.L.C. The new firm's creation, according to a story in Crain's Cleveland Business (CCB), a sister publication of Tire Business, reunites Mr. Millis with two former colleagues: financial analyst Matthew Dennis and Carol D. Moran, a corporate communications specialist.
All three had worked until last fall at another investor relations firm in Beachwood, Ohio. Mr. Millis also previously headed his own financial research company and, in the 1980s, was a general partner at McDonald & Co. Securities Inc. ``In the old days, a company would have analysts to get the word out'' to investors about their companies, Mr. Millis told CCB. ``We're trying to fill that role.''
Welcome back, Harry.
Extreme (tire) makeover
Swings. Motels for mosquitoes. But tires as haute garden decor?
The tire industry's lifeblood hasn't really been that popular as of late as a staple yard and garden landscaping technique. But an Akron Beacon Journal article noted the once-tacky tire is making a comeback with garden designers. If you're thinking of tires as a horticultural theme, Susie Dempster of Blooming Designs in Norton, Ohio, suggested doing them up big-incorporating tires of different sizes, from bike to the biggest tractor tires you can find. Otherwise, she told the paper, ``If you're shy, it looks like someone just left them there and they're waiting to be thrown out.''
Another designer saw big possibilities in using tires to keep plants in check or, say, by lining a tractor tire for use as a water garden or a bog garden. On the dry end of the spectrum, you could even use them to house a cactus garden.
Yet another gardening expert advised using stacked tires as retaining walls-nothing new there. But he also said a series of tires could be buried halfway in the ground so they look like a snake undulating in and out of the earth.
If you market it properly, all those scrap tires stacked up and gathering rainwater behind your dealership could be a new profit center. Just remember: One person's tread trash can be another's art.