A million years ago, there was this small town where they now make Viagra and Rogaine. In that little burg was a crappy little AM radio station. The only thing the station had to recommend it was Thompson-Fu and one of the red-headed daughters of the owner; those are stories for another day. Now that it is fascist hate-radio central, there is nothing left worth anyone’s attention.
One summer, during a tour of duty on the BK Lounge front lines, the station introduced “WKMI Cards.” They were the size of credit cards, and each bore one of the station’s call letters. There was the usual hub-bub of hype about these things. We gave them out like Halloween candy at the drive through window. Local merchants, including the King, would give amazing discounts, like free regular fries with the purchase of a Whopper and drink, if you had the right card (on Thursdays, you needed the “W” card). After weeks of hype, it was time to launch. Woo-hoo!
Within a week or two, the program was completely dead. One, maybe two promos involved the King. None involved strip clubs. No one cared. No one missed the cards.
Fast forward to 2007. Car and Driver magazine pimps this thing called First Drivers Club:
We formed this team of loyal CAR and DRIVER readers as a way to harness the power of honest word-of-mouth, or what we call “buzz.” The official definition of word-of-mouth is “all person-to-person communication about a product, service, or idea that delivers independent credibility.” Buzz is about creating discussions and enabling information to spread from one person to the next. It’s the word on the street, the energy around a product — it’s about creating and sharing an idea that people will talk about.
As a First Driver, you can take part in buzz Campaigns [PLURAL] that give you the opportunity to share your opinions with countless people. We’ll arm you with exclusive information about new cars and related products, and give you tips on how to go about spreading the word. After you’ve created buzz, you can let us know what happened by submitting Reports online at FirstDriversClub.com. These Reports afford you the unique opportunity to have your voice heard by CAR and DRIVER and the auto industry. Your feedback is important to us: it gives us invaluable insight into how you and the public feel about our products.
Remember, the First Drivers Club is all about you! You should only sign up to take part in Campaigns that you find interesting. This isn’t homework. This is your chance to share your honest opinions with other people … and with us.
I am a member. So far, the only campaign I have ever seen was for Pennzoil Platinum. This might be the world’s greatest oil ever. I don’t know. Why don’t I know? Because I signed up in July and never received the “kit.” No “Coupons” to give out. Or use myself. No Pennzoil Platinum oil change to talk about, because I didn’t get those coupons. No Pennzoil Hat. No “Adaptive Molecule Toy.”
I let them know in September that “Hello, I’m still waiting.” I checked the site yesterday and “nope, no other campaigns.” So, I reported on my efforts to create a buzz about stuff I haven’t used, demonstrated with props and swag I don’t have.
Today, I get this:
From: BzzAgent Fly Fusion Support [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:09 AM
To: Mr. Blowhard Fartknocker
Subject: (Case *****) Regarding your Pennzoil Platinum Campaign Kit
We’re sorry you never received this kit. Unfortunately since this campaign will end on 10/22, we will not be able to ship another kit to you. We apologize for this inconvenience, but be on the lookout for upcoming campaigns in the First Driver’s Club. Please let us know if you have any more questions.
First Driver’s Club
The editorial “bonus content” is stale, and there are no other campaigns. I think the FDC may be circling the bowl, after just a token splash, just like the WKMI cards. Time of impending death? Probably 10/23, with no fanfare. I hope I am wrong. I hope that the next campaign is for freeferraris.com or for K&N cold air intakes for Mustang V-6s. Perhaps I will start holding my breath for that right now.
So, in conclusion, let me just say:
- Is available for purchase at all major auto supply stores, as well as select service centers
- Meets the most demanding motor oil specifications of some of the best American, Japanese and European engines
- Contains an advanced additive package
- Provides protection for diesel engines too
- Provides better protection against friction than conventional motor oils
- Meets or exceeds the high performance requirements of Porsche, Viper, Corvette, Prowler and BMW (Specifications may vary. Always check owner’s manual)
- Resists burn-off better than conventional and synthetic blend oils
- Was awarded an Editor’s Choice award by Popular Mechanics in 2006
- Meets the most advanced fuel economy standards for US and European vehicles
I have no personal knowledge of any of this, but at a minimum, it has to be better than my last $53.00 (!) Durablend oil change at the VIOC, or at least it would be if I had a coupon. Now where is my adaptive molecule hat, Pennzoil?