Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Litespeed

Tuesday, 6 February 2007; 20:19

Few know it, but before Trek came along seven-times Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, rode a Litespeed titanium bicycle. In fact, he liked the company’s bikes so much that he paid for his own custom-built Litespeeds instead of riding the standard team issue bikes supplied for free by another manufacturer. For those few hardcore cyclists out there, let us have a look at this interview and what Litespeed is up to these days.

Home page:  Litespeed

Approximately $10,000 and it’s yours!

Oshkosh Truck Corporation

Monday, 16 October 2006; 9:16

Because the road to freedom isn’t paved! – Oshkosh Truck Corp.

“Oshkosh” always reminds The Distillery of clothing for toddlers. However, except for bringing Tonka Toys to mind, Oshkosh Truck Corporation bears little resemblance to a children’s clothing manufacturer. Instead, it manufactures severe-duty trucks for defense, airport, municipal and concrete. (The Distillery likes the word “severe” in that description. It’s not the usual descriptor and is attention-catching.)

On the other hand, the repetitious drum beat heard on the site’s home page quickly becomes a severe hurt on one’s ears. And unlike the best of sites, there is no “Off” switch for a very irritating soundtrack. Not good, so let’s get beyond the index page as quickly as possible.

Moving on, we find Oshkosh feels Our Soldiers Deserve the Best and Oshkosh Is Honored to Deliver It. The slogans are a nice defense-related tie-in for its online advertising. The soundtrack is initially appropriate, but once again quickly grows old as it ends with the sound of machine gun fire and then repeats ad nauseum.

But, we do find Oshkosh recognizing the value of the internet for online promotion with this video of its newest severe-duty military truck. One also finds video of the world’s only electric hydrid [sic] drive designed esepcially [sic] for severe-duty trucks. In addition, there is video of the computer-controled [sic] multiplexing system that operates and diagnozes [sic] all vehicle systems.

Not to leave potential buyers asking too many of the more obvious questions, we find more video of the independent front suspension that provides three times a smoother ride in Oshkosh trucks. Additional video(s) can be found here and here, and in other places throughout the site. But before you leave, be certain to also visit Oshkosh’s TerraMax site. There you will find videos of its DARPA robotic vehicle.

In all, very nicely done–excluding the countless and inexcusable spelling errors–for an 85 year-old company that does not sell what one might consider high-tech products. However, someone at Oshkosh needs to be shown the spell-checker on their computer. Or, that’s one pathetic advertising agency that allows such obvious and embarrassing spelling errors out the door. The Distillery certainly will not ever recommend or hire that advertising firm.

The above caveat aside, it appears they make far interesting products and advertising in Wisconsin than just the state’s superb dairy products and children’s clothing. I knew there was a reason The Distillery liked that state beyond its frigid temperatures. And remember, the road to freedom isn’t paved.

Home page:  Oshkosh Truck Corporation
Home page:  TerraMax

Oshkosh Truck Corp. logo graphic

TerraMax robotic Vehicle

(And where have I been lately? Very busy with real work, having a birthday, and dealing with crazy people. But once again, SippinWhisky’s Distillery is distilling the internet’s rich media advertising. Enjoy your daily sips.)

Segway

Wednesday, 20 September 2006; 13:20

It was to revolutionize personal travel and was launched with all the hype in the world. However, the Segway never quite made the segue from blueprint to mass adoption that was intended. Its cost has been cited as one factor. Another has been local transportation ordinances. Regardless, it never lived up to the hype.

That said, is the Segway still something you might want? The Distillery thinks so. Give it a little more time, hopefully some manufacturing economies of scale, and one day there may be one sitting in most garages. But until then, as is implicitly evidenced by the onsite video, the Segway is in dire need of buyers.

As for the Segway web site, it could use some consideration. The Distillery very much dislikes web sites that continually open new pages. The first three clicks at segway.com generated three open windows. (Do they think we use Segways to navigate web sites?) And, why is there a mini-site when there is only a single core product?

Then there are the helmets used by the site’s Segway demonstrators. The Segway was hyped (and is still) as being really cool, but those have to be some of the dorkiest helmets ever seen! Even the old Bell Biker from the 1970s looks better. It seems Segway does not comprehend that cool is only as cool as the dorkiest link. The only person wearing a helmet that equals the Segway’s cool-factor is the policeman.

The manufacturer might take a lesson learned some time ago by the bicycle industry. That is, consumers often see not just the product itself, but the whole package–even when the package exceeds the core product and is an additional expense. You will not see any bicycle manufacturers making the mistake of  combining their expensive wares with cheap-looking, inexpensive, and ugly helmets.

In fact, the Segway site clearly shows that both marketing and manufacturing are handled by the same parties. Why else would a beautiful 3-D tour of the product being entirely devoid of music or a voice-over? Silence seldom sells. It has an especially tough time selling a completely new product about which potential buyers want all the information they can get. There is also keeping the visitor as immersed in the product as desired and possible while at the web site. In summary, the Segway web site is a great piece of steak, but someone most certainly forgot that customers like hearing that steak sizzle on the grill.

Home page:  Segway

Segway logo graphicSegway photo graphic