Monday, October 8, 2012

Much To Be Said for Beemers and Audis

BRIEFLY and without boasting, a Mercedes once sat in the Billabong's driveway. It was a long time ago and the car, acquired secondhand, older than that. The vehicle was a smooth ride, comfortable, smelled of leather, and met with approving glances when driven to Old Boys functions. Particularly appealing were the doors, which closed with a satisfying crunk, yet none of those virtues were quite enough to win the absolute affection of a young Bunyip whose breakneck passion was for caning down dirt tracks at top speed in the middle of the night. When it came to fun, a clubman-prepared Datsun 1600 with a 240K gear box, worked suspension and a lot of additional oomph-ifiers under the bonnet left the big Hun for dead.

That is not to say another Merc would be shunned. This model, for example, would be a most welcome addition to the garage, especially if equipped with a fishing-rod holder, stowage straps for deck chairs, camp mattress, cooking gear and tent. Age not only puts the handbrake on reckless pursuits, it also opens broader vistas and new appreciations. When the bush beckons these days, it asks to be taken slowly and without a crash hat.

But there is a problem that pretty much rules out any purchase of that handsome G-55 (above). The problem's name is David McCarthy, the company's PR mouthpiece in Australia, who has been very hissy of late about Alan Jones. Not only has he issued press releases asserting that his employer is yanking its 2GB radio ads in response to the host's surreptitiously recorded remark, he has also been quite loud in demanding that Jones return the loaner he has been driving.

Such vehemence always seemed odd. One would guess that Jones' listeners are far more likely to buy and drive Mercedes than the GetUp tragics now pumping out threatening emails to 2GB's advertisers. If Mercedes felt compelled to yank its advertising, surely it would have been a better policy to do so quietly? Instead, McCarthy has broadcast his employer's disdain more widely than the signal of JOY FM, of which he was, until recently, chairman of the board.

Well it turns out, as Mumbrella is reporting, that Mercedes' decision to abandon Jones' show predates the radiohost's unfortunate remarks at Sydney University by some two months, and this makes McCarthy's much-quoted contempt for Jones all the more peculiar. Could it be that he has a private, deeply personal, agenda to push and that, just maybe, he has been using his position with Mercedes to advance it? Do you reckon he saw an opportunity to use his employer's name as a cudgel for beating up on Jones and that the PR man appropriated the car maker's prestige and market prominence for his own ends?

They are questions Mercedes execs most likely will wish to consider if even a few Jones listeners opt for another marque, but curious minds can still cast about for an unofficial explanation.

One of these, it turns out, may be that McCarthy (above) is an ardent and loud gay-libber, not that there is anything wrong with that. Indeed, good luck to him for being part of the movement that has transformed the love that dare not speak its name into the one that never shuts up.

Could it be that Jones' fuddy-duddy persona has got up McCarthy's nightie? Or perhaps, as a fellow who boasts of being out, proud and loud in the office, McCarthy believes that Jones, thought by many to be gay, has shirked a moral obligation to caper openly at the Mardi Gras Parade and use his microphone to advance the cause of adjectively qualified marriages?

We will never know, although Mercedes execs may soon have a good idea when they begin asking some questions.


  1. I have already voted with my cheque book. Here is the email I sent to MB dealer principal:

    Dear Mr [name removed],

    I am a long term customer of both Mercedes Benz and [dealer name removed]. I purchased my first new Mercedes Benz from[dealer name removed]in 1988. I have also purchased new Mercedes Benz cars from [dealer name removed] and two from [dealer name removed] most recently in April 2011.

    I have been contemplating purchasing a new C63 and was intending to visit your dealership today; until I read in the papers this morning that Mercedes Benz Australia has withdrawn its advertising and support from Alan Jones.

    Mr Jones made an inappropriate remark at a private function, for which he has repeatedly apologized. The subsequent campaign against him is no longer about that inappropriate remark and has become part of a broader political attempt to silence a very vocal and effective voice in opposition to the current Federal government.

    Purchasing a car should not involve any consideration of political issues. However, by withdrawing its advertising and support for Mr Jones, Mercedes Benz Australia has inserted itself into a political issue and debate in a way that I cannot ignore. If Mercedes Benz Australia wishes to join a political debate and a politically motivated boycott of Mr Jones, then it will have to accept its customers might well take that fact into account when buying cars in the future. I intend to do so on this occasion. I will not now buy a C63. The loss of this sale is the direct result of the decision by Mercedes Benz Australia to withdraw its advertising and support for Mr Jones, and I will certainly not contemplate buying another Mercedes Benz car until Mercedes Benz Australia decides to stick to the business of selling cars, and remain out of the political arena and debate.

    I hope that you will pass this email to people at Mercedes Benz Australia responsible for the decision to withdraw the advertising and support from Mr Jones.

    Yours faithfully,

    1. Fantastic, Brett! Good on you.

    2. I doubt very much if Mercedes Benz head office in Germany was aware beforehand (I'm sure they are now) that Mr McCarthy intended to act in such a dishonest and unprofessional manner. He has compromised the brand in OZ. i too have a Benz but will not be purchasing another.

  2. David McCarthy is Mercedes-Benz's worst nightmare: a leftwing political activist who will drag the company through every court and tribunal in the land, even though he has single-handedly trashed the company's reputation in Australia. This could be compelling entertainment if Merc does the right thing and delivers him instant summary dismissal for misconduct at 5pm today. At 9am tomorrow, he's writing for the Drum and publishing previously unseen, racy photographs of MB executives at the Rio Carnivale. Shame. I'm on my fourth Merc. Great motorcars.

  3. "When it came to fun, a clubman-prepared Datsun 1600 with a 240K gear box, worked suspension and a lot of additional oomph-ifiers under the bonnet left the big Hun for dead."

    Prof your word picture there is tripping my trigger (my brother had a 1600 - the first car what I ever did drive). Certainly the word picture is far nicer than the real one you have included of the plump middle aged man with cheap bling and a 12 year old's haircut.

    from Real Deal

  4. Thank you Bunyip for that background info on McCarthy. When I heard about MB's astonishing move into politics on this matter - I wrote to my local MB dealership (I am an established customer),expressing my displeasure at the implications of their position and suggesting that I could equally withdraw my business from their company. I received an incredibly pompous reply from one David McCarthy. MB Head Office seems amazingly unconcerned about losing my business. Your piece perhaps explains why. I now intend to write to MB Germany. Locals in my suburb are really agitated by McCarthy's stance. MB should be concerned, as an enormous Audi dealership has just opened. I can't believe that german pragmatism will be unmoved by massive loss of business by my demographic.

    1. SWMBO and I are on Benz number 7, mine being just a year old but t'other is due for replacement. Started buying them when the finances of business allowed a little luxury in life. Hope SWMBO likes BMW or Audi as I do not like hypocracy of any sort and the hard earned is not going to a company which employs a prat like McCarthy. And as an after thought I have never listened to Jones in psychotic city nor ever likely to as it is a place best avoided.

    2. I'm coming off lease as we speak. MB is no longer an option.
      Memo to MB HQ ; you should be very worried when medicos and the like are talking about this topic. To abuse that hoary old phrase once again, at the end of the day, what is your demographic? Facebook lemmings who would be flat out scraping together a deposit on a Trabant, or clients with a fist full of the folding stuff.

    3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.October 8, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      Was thinking of accepting an offer a while ago by Da Hairy Ape to get me (Mrs. Ape) a Baby Merc for round the city as I do tend to bump into things when parking bigger cars. Won't do that now. I am not a fan of Alan Jones' personal style, but this has turned into a Labor vendetta. BMW looks nice.

      I'll be off-line for a while Prof, but I'll catch up on your wit and wisdom soon as I can.

  5. "...transformed the love that dare not speak its name into the one that never shuts up."

    sorry, had to laugh out load after reading that line.

    1. Yes ... Corker line that.
      We have a house in a country town with a high gay populace and count some of them as friends.
      Some of them can be a trifle irritating when they keep on and on about it, to the point where I feel like saying "Hey, good luck to you mate ...... but it's not like you INVENTED it"

      The Irish Lion

    2. OK, here is question for you all. Who was it that put the phrase "the love that dare not speak its name" into circulation?

      (I hope that no-one will clog up the Prof's blog with answers. I will post it in a day or two (Prof willing).

    3. "...transformed the love that dare not speak its name into the one that never shuts up."

      It's a fun quote but it is not an original.

    4. I had a vision od Steven Fry as Oscar standing in the wirness box at the old bailey as a dozen wigs sat silent in awe of the explanation he gave lol.

    5. I had to laugh, too.

      Thanks, Prof.

      (And what Lizzie B said about the damned anti-robot test. Arrgh!)

    6. Frau Farbissina used the phrase when introducing her new friend,Unibrau,who she'd met at the LGPA,to Dr.Evil.

  6. An interesting bit of trivia. The Army truck that crashed at Holsworthy this morning is a Mercedes Benz Unimog. Have not heard anything from McCarthy about that yet

  7. I sent the following email to
    I don’t believe that Mr McCarthy is a fit and proper person to occupy the position of President of Joy FM, for the reason that he abused his position at Mercedes-Benz and Joy FM to lead and feed a media frenzy on pulling of sponsors from 2GB.

    He lied about the reason Mercedes Benz ended their contract, and then fed the media the falsehood that Mercedes Benz removed sponsorship due to some out of bounds comments made by Alan Jones at a private function.

    Your President helped stoke a vitriolic campaign – not only against 2GB, but against the many small business sponsors of the radio station, pushed on by Facebook and Twitter. This resulted in businesses and their staff being abused and overwhelmed by an email and social media campaign.

    Small businesses – the same sort of sponsors you might have at Joy – were abused in horrific ways. I have heard only some of the abuse.

    And your President helped do this. All based on a lie. A big lie. And he used Mercedes Benz brand name to do it.

    Your President tried to use this despicable lie to knock a political rival and to kick a competitor for the airwaves.

    Your board may wish to consider an apology to 2GB and their sponsors. Imagine what that would do for your profile.

    You may also want to review the position of President in line with the rules of your organisation.

    1. Well said!

    2. Outstanding.
      I wrote a similar letter to Woolworth.
      Obviously I do not have the enviable clout of several expensive vehicles to beat them over the head with, but I did point out that my miserable $8000+ yearly shopping expense at their stores might be multiplied many times by similarly incensed customers.
      PR flacks at these gutless companies need a reality check, and should beware of awakening the slumbering giant of majority...and fair-minded...opinion.
      110,000 signatures might seem like an avalanche to some student activist nursing his first pimple , but it is a very small minority.

  8. Love the "love that dare not speak it's name " bit.

    (that's a keeper).

    Sadly down here in Tassie , we have Merc's, but from the 1970's and diesel at that. That said we all gather 'round the village Wide-Screen and wonder at the marvels available in the less-green states.

    Still, it's reassuring to know that when I get to serve mainlanders with their frappe'-mocha-chino-free-trade-fair-trade coffees I might get to glimpse one of these wonder machines.

    So thank God and Gillard for the NBN, otherwise I would have no or very little idea of what I'm missing out on.

    God Bless
    Joel B1

  9. The Old and Unimproved DaveOctober 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    From lovable Sergeant Schultz to Herr Flick in one bad PR decision.

  10. Why doesn't enybody mention that Fairfax own 2UE and are bashing their competitor endlessly without ever disclosing their interest in the matter

  11. And this McCarthy (appropriate name) is supposed to do the PR for Mercedes? Methinks he is rather working as a sub-branch for the Left's dirt unit. As to buying a Mercedes: I would not buy a used bike from that individual.

  12. There are some great letters here and I hope that Alan Jones and 2GB will see them.

    As to that line: "...transformed the love that dare not speak its name into the one that never shuts up." = Quote of the month!. hehehe

  13. Neil Mitchell at 3AW seems to have a different view of the integrity of Mr McCarthy and different slant on the facts relating to the use of a Mercedes Benz by Alan Jones and the subsequent summons from Mr McCarthy for its return.

  14. Why is that fat middle aged man dressed like a Japanese teenager?

  15. Oh Lord won’t you embargo Mercedes-Benz
    Their friends all hate Alan
    And they want #Revenge
    Worked hard on the facebook and
    Gathered new Friends
    Oh Lord won’t you embargo
    Mercedes Benz

  16. We bought our first Mercedes in 2001; traded it in and got another in 2004; traded it in and got another in 2007; traded THAT one in and got another in 2010; and are due to start shopping for our 2013 trade-up.

    Have just discussed this with my partner (yes I'm gay too, we're not all leftard freakshows okay?) and our 2013 "present to ourselves" will NOT be a MB.

  17. Only just said to my wife last night "I bet they were already looking to pull their advertising anyway." I reckoned that they would be using it as a negotiating ploy to minimise their advertising costs (renegotiate a cheaper deal)as car sales have fallen so much.
    Only Merc's I have ever liked are the 70's SL convertibles. And then I would probably plunk for a Chrysler VG 2 Door convertible modification first anyway.

  18. They're still advertising on 2GB on the Chris Smith Afternoon Show with Smith reading the ads.