I popped down to the shops this morning for some milk to have on my Fruit ‘n Fibre. As I was walking back, a number of cars passed me, one of which I found very confusing.
The car looked like a box-standard BMW 3 series coupe, but it had an M3 badge and quad exhaust pipes, much like an M3. It nearly fooled me, but not quite. It had neither the swelled rear wheel arches nor the pumped up rear bumper of an M car. You can always tell a normal 3 series coupe from an M3 coupe, the rear lights look too big on the standard car and well proportioned when situated in the M3’s backside.
I felt angry, then disappointed and then I started laughing. The poor man. I thought about the time, effort and money he would have gone to, in order to engineer quad exhaust pipes on the back of his car. I wondered whether he would have to spend even more money rectifying his terrible mistake.
I like integrity; people and things that are genuine, so someone pretending to be what they are not really gets my goat. In life, we tend to give pretentious individuals a little more leeway, as we cannot see inside their souls. A little bravado goes a long way, and self-confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But when it comes to Brand Association Fraud (BAF), I am scratching my head to think why this man would attempt to commit such a heinous act.
I know it is a man, because only men care about cars enough to commit car fraud. Women notice two things about cars; the colour, and whether the seats are comfy. Women like cars that are high up off the ground so they feel safer and can better see the road ahead. Women like cars with integrated mirrors so they can do their make-up on the way to work. Women like cars with lots of seats, lots of doors, and room in the back for a puppy, in the eventuality that you finally crack and agree to get one (The road to children is paved with adorable puppies, I’m told). Some women may buy fake handbags, but they wouldn’t waste money on a fake car, because their target audience (other women) don’t know, and don’t care.
Some men are showy; they like to preen themselves, put ‘product’ in their hair, and buy unwashed jeans, which they proceed to not wash. These men are not interested in cars, beyond their ability to function when they turn the key. Other men, let’s call them blokes are more Neanderthal in their presentation. They enjoy drinking, shagging birds and watching football (ideally all three in an afternoon). They delight in the aural byproducts of their bodily functions. These men don’t really care about cars either.
To whom is Mr. Faux M3 aiming his attempted deception? My guess is it’s a small tranche of individuals; the car geeks. These are the people who watch Top Gear (all the way through including the ‘chatty bit’ on the sofa), watch Chris Harris videos on YouTube, and subscribe to Evo magazine. These are the people who know their shit when it comes to cars. They can tell you than an Aston Martin DB9 has a 6 litre V12, that the VW 1.4 TSi engine is both supercharged and turbocharged. They know who Sebastien Loeb is, and they know that VAG is a German automotive group and not only an abbreviation for a lady’s ‘front bottom’.
These are the kind of people who are going to be impressed by someone who drives an M3, and equally appalled if said M3 turns out to be a fake. A fake Rolex watch may have brought you kudos with your mates when you were 9, but it was only because they didn’t know any better. The first rule in marketing is to know your target audience. In this regard, our car fraudster has failed miserably.
Seen any good examples of car fraud recently? Post them to twitter @shinysideupnet