Mercedes-AMG is born to be wild

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Mercedes-AMG is all set for Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.

Mercedes-Benz’s performance arm plans to run a 30-second spot dubbed “Easy Driver” in the fourth quarter of the game.

A 15-second teaser of the ad was the latest new spot to top our weekly viral video charts.

In the teaser, two bikers partake in a rough game of arm wrestle while Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” plays over the bar’s speakers.

An extended cut of the ad was released on Jan. 26, Advertising Age, an affiliate ofAutomotive News, reported, and the bikers’ rough-and-tumble ways continue in it.

Eventually, one biker bursts through the bar entrance to alert the group that their bikes have blocked in. Once outside, the group sees that Peter Fonda, who starred in the 1969 movie “Easy Rider,” has blocked the bikes with his Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster.

Fonda then gets in the car, starts it up and drives off onto the open road.

The ad was directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, whose film credits include “No Country for Old Men,” “Fargo” and “The Big Lebowski.”

The spot comes in at No. 1 with 3,383,289 views, according to the rankings complied by Visible Measures.

Watch it and new spots from Acura, Porsche, Toyota and Hyundai below.

1

NEW
Easy Driver
Mercedes-Benz

Merkley & Partners

This week

(True Reach): 3,383,289


Last week: NEW

2

NEW
Mood Roads
Acura

NA

This week

(True Reach): 2,208,167


Last week: NEW

3

NEW
Parallels
Porsche

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,841,981


Last week: NEW

4

16%
Made Mean
Honda

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,246,073


Last week: 10

5

-6%
2017 Mazda3
Mazda

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,237,534


Last week: 8

6

NEW
Feeling the Street 2016
Toyota

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,172,080


Last week: NEW

7

-16%
Driving Matters
Mazda

The Garage/Team Mazda

This week

(True Reach): 1,160,838


Last week: 7

8

NEW
2017 Toyota 86
Toyota

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,083,373


Last week: NEW

9

NEW
Operation Better
Hyundai

Innocean Worldwide

This week

(True Reach): 1,058,470


Last week: NEW

10

-74%
Weekend Adventure
Land Rover

NA

This week

(True Reach): 1,056,331


Last week: 1

Source: Visible Measures

Automotive News’ Video Traction Chart, powered by Visible Measures, focuses on brand-driven social video ad campaigns. Each campaign is measured by True Reach, an MRC accredited metric that includes views from brand-driven and audience-driven social video clips. The data are compiled using the patented Visible Measures platform, a constantly growing repository of analytic data on hundreds of millions of videos tracked across hundreds of online video destinations.

Note: This analysis does not include Visible Measures’ paid-placement (e.g., overlays; pre-, mid-, and post-roll) performance data or video views on private sites. This chart does not include movie trailers, video game campaigns, TV show, or media network promotions. View counts are incremental by week.

**Indicates percent change in views compared with the same period the week before.

UK economy to slow down this year and next, says think tank

The UK economy may slow down in the next couple of years, even while the world economy picks up, says the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

Its latest forecast suggests the UK will grow by 1.7% this year and by 1.9% in 2018, both down from the growth rate of 2% recorded for 2016.

This will mean higher average unemployment of 5.1% this year and 5.4% next, up from the current rate of 4.8%.

Inflation is predicted to rise too.

The NIESR thinks inflation will jump, on the now-standard CPI measure, from an average of 1.2% recorded over the course of 2016, to 3.3% this year then back down to 2.9% in 2018.

Price rises will be stoked, the Institute argues, by the sharp devaluation of the pound after the UK’s Brexit vote last June.

“Robust consumer spending growth was behind the economic momentum of 2016,” said Simon Kirby, head of macroeconomic modelling and forecasting at NIESR.

“Consumers face significant headwinds this year and next.

“Most notably, the pass-through from the recent depreciation of sterling to consumer prices is expected to erode the purchasing power of households this year and next,” he added.

The institute thinks the Bank of England will ignore this “temporary” pick-up in inflation and keep interest rates unchanged at their current historic low point, of just 0.25%, until the middle of 20109.

All this will be against the background of a more robust world economy.

The NIESR forecasts that the world economy will grow at a faster pace in the next couple of years, with the annual growth rate rising from 3% in 2016 to 3.1% this year, and then to 3.5% in 2018.

But it warns that its predictions could be thrown off-kilter by any sudden changes in real economic policy in the US, following President Trump’s recent election.

“Our forecast assumes established policies,” the NIESR says.

“Potential policy changes in the US and any response in the rest of the world therefore pose significant risks to our projections.”

Buick deploys Cam Newton for Super Bowl spot, leverages Instagram ads

Carolina Panther quarterback Cam Newton didn’t make it back to the big game this year, so he used his talents to help a crew of Pee Wee footballers in Buick’s Super Bowl spot to tout the Cascada and hot-selling Encore.

Buick’s 30-second spot featuring Newton and supermodel Miranda Kerr is slated to run in the first quarter. To reach younger buyers and extend its Super Bowl storyline, Buick is the first auto brand to leverage ads within Instagram Stories — a feature where users post photos and videos that remain visible for 24 hours before disappearing. Instagram says 150 million people use Stories each day.

Buick, which aired its first Super Bowl ad in 2016, is sticking to its football player/supermodel formula. Last season, the brand deployed New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Emily Ratajkowski in a spot that pushed the Cascada convertible, which went on to post U.S. sales of 7,153 in 2016.

Buick decided to package the Cascada with the Encore this year because the vehicles are its leading conquest models, said Molly Peck, the brand’s director of marketing and advertising. Nearly half of Buick’s U.S. buyers overall, Peck says, come from non-GM brands.

Peck said the Super Bowl spot aims to appeal to everyone, from young people to families. The spot follows the same blueprint of Buick’s ads in recent years, which are known for quirky theme music and people doubting whether they’re actually seeing a Buick.

Buick invited several youth football squads and their coaches to participate in the commercial. Peck added that the “sport red” Cascada in the spot is the convertible’s newest color.

The ad debuted Tuesday night on CBS during the “Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials” special.

“Within our Buick voice, it’s very much like our Buick campaign. It’s just done so in a bigger way for the Super Bowl,” Peck told Automotive News. “We’ll connect with people who like sports, who like Cam Newton. We’ll connect with people who just like advertising during the game.”

Instagram Stories

Buick, long known as a brand that attracted older buyers, has invested more in social media in recent years to reach a wider, younger base.

The brand was thoughtful with its Instagram Stories content.

Its agency, Engage M-1, worked with Facebook’s Creative Shop to ensure that the ads felt natural within the platform. For instance, Buick deployed a “boomerang” ad with Newton in Stories, which is a series of photos looped together in a mini video that plays forward and backward.

Buick is expected to run one ad within Stories beginning Wednesday and continuing through Feb. 7.

“We love to go into new territory for Buick. It’s part of our DNA as a brand,” Peck said of the Instagram Stories campaign. “You can see that in the vehicles we put out. We like to go where others aren’t. We like being first.”

Instagram Stories was released in August, and began offering brands the opportunity to advertise within the feature in January. Last week, Buick became one of the first companies to run ads in Stories.

The initial Buick ad campaign in Stories, which ended Tuesday, showcased the Encore with a San Francisco backdrop.

The appeal of Instagram for auto advertisers is clear. A Facebook-commissioned study in August found that 32 percent of auto shoppers on Instagram said the network prompted them to consider purchasing a new product/service in the last month.

“The whole promise of this format is it being so immersive and it being so intimate. It’s a full screen, sound-on environment,” James Quarles, vice president of monetization at Instagram, told Automotive News, adding: “…The opportunity for businesses is to tell another side of a story… and take people with you.”

Cross-country commuters to save ‘hundreds of pounds’

train on Tamar Bridge

Passengers using cross-country train routes could theoretically save up to £260 a journey, under a trial scheme to simplify fares.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, says the 16 million fares currently on offer are “baffling” for passengers.

The trials – starting in May – will particularly benefit passengers travelling from Scotland to South West England, or vice-versa.

Ticket machines will also be improved.

A traveller buying an off-peak return from Wick in northern Scotland to Par in Cornwall can currently pay up to £342.50, although in practice few people pay that amount.

However, by buying six separate fares for each leg of the journey, passengers can pay as little as £80 for the same trip.

The RDG says the potential saving of £262 will soon be offered to customers automatically.

CrossCountry Trains, an operator taking part in the trials, may eventually offer savings on other routes as well.

Passengers travelling between London and Glasgow, or London and Edinburgh, may also benefit from clearer pricing.

Operators currently have to offer a return fare between these cities which is regulated by the government. But the RDG says it would be more transparent – and possibly cheaper – for commuters if the single fares were regulated instead.

It wants more airline-style booking of single fares – at ticket offices and ticket machines, as well as on the internet.

“We’re determined to overhaul the system to cut out red-tape, jargon and complication to make it easier for customers to buy fares they can trust, including from ticket machines,” said Jacqueline Starr, RDG director of customer experience.

The trial will also see the removal of some historic fares which do not make sense.

At the moment passengers travelling between London St Pancras and Sheffield pay extra to travel via Grantham, for example, even though it takes longer.

Such fares date back to the pre-privatisation era of British Rail.

The price of average train fares – including regulated and unregulated tickets – went up by , even though consumer prices rose by just 1.6% last year.

The rise led to protests by passengers and rail unions.

UK economy to slow down this year and next, says NIESR

The UK economy may slow down in the next couple of years, even while the world economy picks up, says the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

Its latest forecast suggests the UK will grow by 1.7% this year and by 1.9% in 2018, both down from the growth rate of 2% recorded for 2016.

This will mean higher average unemployment of 5.1% this year and 5.4% next, up from the current rate of 4.8%.

Inflation is predicted to rise too.

The NIESR thinks inflation will jump, on the now-standard CPI measure, from an average of 1.2% recorded over the course of 2016, to 3.3% this year then back down to 2.9% in 2018.

Price rises will be stoked, the Institute argues, by the sharp devaluation of the pound after the UK’s Brexit vote last June.

“Robust consumer spending growth was behind the economic momentum of 2016,” said Simon Kirby, head of macroeconomic modelling and forecasting at NIESR.

“Consumers face significant headwinds this year and next.

“Most notably, the pass-through from the recent depreciation of sterling to consumer prices is expected to erode the purchasing power of households this year and next,” he added.

The institute thinks the Bank of England will ignore this “temporary” pick-up in inflation and keep interest rates unchanged at their current historic low point, of just 0.25%, until the middle of 20109.

All this will be against the background of a more robust world economy.

The NIESR forecasts that the world economy will grow at a faster pace in the next couple of years, with the annual growth rate rising from 3% in 2016 to 3.1% this year, and then to 3.5% in 2018.

But it warns that its predictions could be thrown off-kilter by any sudden changes in real economic policy in the US, following President Trump’s recent election.

“Our forecast assumes established policies,” the NIESR says.

“Potential policy changes in the US and any response in the rest of the world therefore pose significant risks to our projections.”