Are you in love with your car?
Probably not. And as the graphic at the top of today's post perfectly illustrates, there may be a good reason why.
So many vehicles on the road today are virtually mirror images of each other. Growing up, kids were often experts at car-spotting – nailing the make and model of passing vehicles with great skill. Not so much today.
While today's cars, trucks, and SUVs are of a much higher quality than they were a few short decades ago, it is much more difficult to differentiate one from the other. Competency does not breed passion.
On the radio the other day, I heard Queen's “I'm In Love With My Car,” and it reminded me there was a time when we had a much deeper relationship with the cars we drove, often giving them names. It's much harder to imagine having that kind of bond with a machine on four wheels that we're just leasing for 36 months.
… When I'm holding your wheel
… I'm in love with my carGot to feel for my automobile Get a grip on my boy racer roll bar Such a thrill when your radials squeal
It's hard to imagine a song like this being released today.
It's truly because cars…like so many products are being engineered the same way, with the same look and feel, have the same characteristics and the same benefits. That may make for reliable motoring, but it stopped being fun a long time ago.
In the media world, we know how this works. There may be several reasons why SVOD platforms like Netflix and Hulu have reached so-called “peak subscription.” Yes, cost has a lot to do with it, but so does the fact every platform looks and is positioned in much the same way:
Hulu even mocked the “plus paradigm” with a spot parodying this same name game. Before reverting to using the now ubiquitous “plus” handle themselves.
Radio has fallen into this same “sameness” trap. Hosts sound the same, the music is safe and similar, our contests all resemble on another, and we all break at the same time. It's hard to imagine falling in love with too many radio stations these days.
Their music may be perfectly scheduled and the voicetracking eliminates annoying errors. But for those same reasons, they rarely inspire and instill passion. Like that vehicle sitting in your driveway, it's there, doing its job, but not begging its owner to take a ride down on Thunder Road, Route 66, or on Lakeshore Drive.
We've got to look for – or better yet – create those distinctions that differentiate our radio stations from everyone else's – those musical curve balls that surprise and delight, that night host who sounds like no one else you've ever heard, a contest that makes you say, “I can't believe they're giving that away,” or the special weekend you make an appointment to listen to.
Otherwise, we're all just making Buicks and Toyotas. Or is it Hyundai or a Ford?
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