You could call them a couple of civilization's first drivers-Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, that is.
The cartoon duo are in a new commercial for auto service provider Midas International Corp. as part of its ``Trust the Midas Touch'' ad campaign. In the spot, Fred and Barney show up at a Midas shop, peppering a mechanic with questions such as this one from Fred: ``Is it true you do more brake jobs than anyone else, and you guarantee all of your work?''
After being reassured about Midas' claim that it does 2 million brake jobs annually and its ``lifetime guarantee,'' Fred asks, ``Do you smell something burning?'' His Bedrock buddy Barney notes the smell is Fred's sore, red feet, which any ``Flintstones'' devotee knows are his ``brakes.'' (Perhaps his hygienic habits also are in question.)
Jordan Sollitto, executive VP of worldwide marketing and international licensing for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. consumer products division, said Fred ``has the most famous pair of `brakes' in the world, and this spot cleverly combines the entertainment equity of `The Flintstones' with the Midas service message.'' The film studio-home of Bugs Bunny and others-owns and markets Flintstones cartoons.
Advertising agency DDB Chicago Inc. blended animation with real footage for the spot. Don Pogany, the company's group creative director, explained that the goal of the commercial is ``to communicate Midas' brake leadership, and work within our existing campaign format that features customers questioning Midas mechanics about their expertise and trustworthiness. Fred provides a unique spin on the customer, and with those sore feet, who else would want new brakes more than him?''
Barney's wife Betty was unavailable for comment and when last heard, Fred's wife Wilma was kicking up a storm in Florida.
But our sources in the H-wood grapevine tell us Fred and Barney did the commercial on the cheap. Actually, they worked for pebbles.
Flushed with success
He calls it a ``Stingray,'' but Derek Muir's invention isn't a Chevy Corvette-it's a souped-up toilet seat.
Mr. Muir's design, made with polyurethane (PU) foam, is said to reduce the noise of flushing by 40 percent. Bayer MaterialScience A.G. picked the designer, from the University of Huddersfield in England, and his project out of 85 entries as this year's winner in the firm's ``Design Innovation in Plastics'' competition.
Company judges praised his entry for its design, aesthetics and careful choice of material-Mr. Muir used integral skin PU foam for much of his project. He said the urethane seat is ideal for parents who don't want to wake up young children at night. The seat's underside forms a complete seal around the rim, cutting out water noise, while use of Bayflex PU for the seat makes it comfortable, chemically resistant and easy to clean.
Now that he's reached the throne of success, maybe Mr. Muir can turn his attention to making tires quieter.
This, that & the other
Trumped-When two titans meet, there's bound to be plenty of fur a-flyin'. Take media mogul/design matron Martha Stewart, who thought when her version of the TV show ``The Apprentice'' debuted she'd be throwing back at Donald Trump his now-famous line, ``You're fired!''
She told Fortune magazine she presumed her show would be replacing The Donald's, and she might even get to give the big guy the heave-ho on her first show. But that wasn't to be. (Neither show is burning up the ratings, at this point, so maybe they'll both be fired.)
Ms. Martha also revealed to the mag that she had hatched a business plan to buy Kmart Corp.-which sells her Martha Stewart Everyday brand-when the retail giant was about to sink into bankruptcy. Code name for the unrealized scheme-``Kmartha.''
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Just wonderin'-As repeated in AutoWeek, a sister pub of Tire Business: Comic Tom Foss mused on XM Satellite radio, ``If the (NASCAR) Viagra car gets a flat (tire), is it erectile dysfunction?'' (How about erectire dysfunction?)
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No respect- ``If it weren't for pickpockets,'' the late Rodney Dangerfield once muttered, ``I'd have no sex life at all.''
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Oh, my aching...-The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that strains and sprains account for 43 percent of time off work. Sounds like they surveyed a lot of tire shops, eh?
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Quotes du jour-Smart guy Albert Einstein once observed that ``not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.'' (Sounds a little like Enron-type bookkeeping.)
And comedian George Burns, who died in 1996 at 100, advised: ``Look to the future, because that's where you'll spend the rest of your life.''
Israeli army officials claim they're replacing rubber bullets used to quell riots with kinder, gentler sand bullets-and there's sure plenty of sand to go around in the Middle East.
Rubber-coated metal bullets have been blamed for dozens of fatalities, even though the military says they aren't deadly. But tell that to Palestinian protesters who're often on the receiving end. Some have been killed when hit at close range with a rubber bullet, according to an Associated Press story on the new bullets.
While reassuring that sand bullets may be less dangerous, Israeli officials do point out that they are, nonetheless, extremely painful.
Any way you look at it, there'll still be an ouch-or worse-attached to being hit with any bullet.
Invention seeks traction
A couple inventors from Orangeville, Ontario, are hoping a system they've developed will gain some traction in the marketplace.
As slippery winter driving conditions fast approach in many areas of the U.S. and Great White North, the inventors claim their ``P.C. Weights'' increase weight in the back of a passenger vehicle, thus improving traction and handling on ice- and snow-covered roads. Called a compact, lightweight system, P.C.-not to be confused with ``politically correct''-is said to provide an alternative to using cumbersome sandbags and cinder blocks in the trunk.
The devices, which weren't described by the Pittsburgh-based company InventHelp, can be arranged in a variety of configurations to suit an owner's needs, would not be apt to slide around or damage a vehicle, and can be stacked for compact storage. The company added that it is ``unable to reveal the working details of this invention,'' whose original design was submitted to InventHelp's Toronto office and is available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers.
A good set of snow tires might be a nice addition, too.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk