Audi Puts Claire Danes in Prison to Sell You Diesel

Audi just launched their latest campaign promoting TDI Diesel vehicles to Americans.  It’s definitely not their first attempt to raise the profile of diesel in a market where gas prices are still in the $3-$4 range and more and more options such as hybrids, electric and high-mileage gas cars continue to provide choices for the fuel conscious consumer.

The latest campaign features actor Claire Danes in an Orange is the New Blackprison inspired theme where Danes has her name mispronounced as the running joke in the long form ad. She imagines travel to an award show with a chauffeur. Or what a drive would be like solo in the new Audi A6 TDI.

All of it ends in the ability of the Audi to drive 700 miles using one tank of gas. It’s a long three plus minutes to get to the final payoff with lots of beauty shots of the Audi driving the open road. Unlike a lot of fuel saving vehicle ads there is no information about how many MPGs the car produces or what benefits diesel may have over other fuel economical cars, just that it’s better than driving with an odd over-sharing limo driver.

Today’s Business Insider wrote about Audi ignoring the easy way to promote diesel, inspired after sitting through this celebrity inundated commercial. The writer suggests Audi should dump the ambiguous “TDI” nomenclature and just tag the cars as “Diesel” on the car itself. This simple move would show that diesels are quiet, attractive, and not smelly.

Personally, I like the ad “The Station.” While it may not promote solid MPGs or tell me why I should buy TDI over EV, PEV, or a Hybrid, it definitely is memorable and tells me Audi makes diesel cars, not that an automotive enthusiast needs a reminder.

So what do you think? Do you like the Claire Danes ad and Audi’s latest approach to selling diesel?

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Concrete flooring: Still trendy?

Concrete is not the first thought that comes to mind when homeowners mull over flooring, but it’s definitely worth a look. Decorative concrete can be quite impressive especially when reviewing what several area businesses can do with concrete.

According to Lisa Willard, co-owner and chief designer for Ashley’s Building and Construction in Bossier City, staining concrete is an art form that takes skill due to the slim margin of error to get the concrete just right. Willard does not recommend homeowners tackling this on a DIY weekend whim.

Being members of the American Society of Concrete Contractors, Willard is seeing a mixed bag of concrete flooring options from commercial and residential clients. Both enjoy concrete flooring because it’s durable for high-traffic areas. Concrete proves to be a versatile building material with so many flooring options, it can make one person dizzy. Concrete can be: stamped, overlaid, stained, scored or textured. It can give the appearance of high-priced large chunks of flagstone or wood flooring.

Merrick Pierce of Specialty Concrete advises homeowners to choose stained concrete as flooring because of the look and style, not because it’s less expensive than wood or tile. That is not always the case, he said. Homeowners should take their time with color and style selections because once the concrete is down, it’s done, Merrick said.

Paul Patton, owner of SlabFX Decorative Concrete and Specialty Coatings, has been in the decorative concrete business for over 15 years. He attends multiple training and continuing education seminars to stay on top of all the new methods of decorating concrete. According to Patton, the industry is rapidly advancing. Patton said advances in the laboratory and chemical side of the concrete staining industry have led to the term decorative concrete to better cover the wide spectrum concrete has to offer as flooring.

Metallic pigmented floors are quickly rising in the decorative concrete market, according to Patton. He said it’s ideal for interior spaces. These are extremely durable with an eye appeal that is unmatched. Patton says it’s the Cadillac of the staining and coating industry.

Concrete professionals can determine the best stains, dyes, sealers and ideal products to use on your concrete. Patton said traditional concrete staining offers an old world look, while stamped concrete can give a more natural stone look that rivals the real deal. An overlay allows concrete professionals to apply a very thin layer of new concrete over existing concrete which can be tinted or stained.

Patton suggested concrete staining is usually a less expensive alternative to traditional flooring with stamping and staining as a great way to add some value to homes while upgrading the exterior surfaces.

Concrete Miracles, LLC out of Dallas, Texas, specializes in decorative overlays of concrete and often work in Shreveport. An advantage to the decorative overlay, according to the owners, include covering up imperfections in a concrete slab such as paint spills, grease pots, divots and glue drops. The house favorite from Concrete Miracles is the Italian Slate stamped overlay.

Concrete flooring is the best option for homes in flood zones, according to Concrete Miracles, since it’s impervious to floods, cost-effective and easy to maintain. Concrete Miracles can create stencils for homeowners’ creative designs and have done things like family monograms, a fleur-de-lis to client’s favorite football team on a concrete floor.

Paul Patton from SlabFX said it best on his website, “Stained concrete provides the best of both worlds: beauty and functionality.”

This option for flooring provides a luxurious option without the price tag.

The pros and cons of concrete flooring

Pros: Durable, beautiful, cost effective, easy to clean, plenty of color and style options

Cons: Must be maintained, sealers applied, very cold on bare feet

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Opportunities for Vinyl Flooring in the Global Building Construction Market

NEW YORK, March 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new market report published by Lucintel, the future of the global vinyl flooring market looks good with opportunities in the residential and commercial building construction markets. The global vinyl flooring market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 3.3% from 2015 to 2020. The major growth drivers for this market are the growth of the global building construction market and reconstruction activities. Vinyl flooring has better aesthetics and functionality, resistant to fire, water, and sound reduction, easy to clean and install property, and budget-friendly. Due to all these properties, the penetration of vinyl flooring is increasing.

On the basis of comprehensive research, Lucintel forecasts that the residential segment is expected to show above average growth during the forecast period. On the basis of product type, luxury vinyl tiles are expected to show a higher growth rate than vinyl sheets and vinyl composition tiles during the forecast period.

In this market, the commercial segment is expected to remain the largest market by value. Increasing demand for vinyl flooring in hospitals, offices, hotels, and educational institutes is expected to spur growth for this segment over the forecast period.

APAC is expected to remain the largest market due to the growth in the construction industry and increasing awareness of product features. Expanding population in this region also offers a huge potential for new housing demand, which would lead to the growth of the vinyl flooring market.
North America is expected to witness the highest growth (by value and volume) over the forecast period because of the recovery of the US economy and growing residential and commercial building construction activities.

For market expansion, the report suggests innovation and new product development where the unique characteristics of vinyl flooring can be capitalized.
The emerging trends, which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the industry, include loose lay flooring and phthalate-free vinyl flooring. Tarkett, Shaw Industries, Inc., Mohawk Industries, Inc., Mannington Mills, Inc., and Armstrong World Industries, Inc. are among the major suppliers of vinyl flooring. Some companies are opting for M&A as a strategic initiative for driving growth.

Lucintel, a leading global strategic consulting and market research firm, has analyzed the global vinyl flooring market by product, application type, and region and has come up with a comprehensive research report, “Opportunities for Vinyl Flooring in the Global Building Construction Market 2015-2020: Trends, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis.” The Lucintel report serves as a springboard for growth strategies, as it provides a comprehensive data and analysis on trends, key drivers, and directions. The study includes forecasts for the global vinyl flooring market through 2020, segmented by product, end use industry, and region as follows:

By end use industry [$ million market size analysis from 2009 to 2020]:
– Residential
– Commercial

By product type [$ million market size analysis from 2009 to 2020]:
– Vinyl Sheet
– Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
– Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)

By region [value ($ million) and volume (million sq mt) market size analysis for 2009 to 2020]:
North America
Asia Pacific
– Rest of the World

Some of the features of “Opportunities for Vinyl Flooring in the Global Building Construction Market 2015-2020: Trends, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis” include:

– Market size estimates: Opportunities for vinyl flooring in the global construction industry in terms of volume (Mil square meters) and value ($ Mil) shipment.
– Trend and forecast analysis: Vinyl flooring in the global construction industry trend (2009-2014) and forecast (2015-2020) by region, segment, and applications.
– Segmentation analysis: Vinyl flooring market size by various product types such as vinyl sheet, luxury vinyl tile, and vinyl composition tile both in terms of volume and value shipment.
– Regional analysis: Vinyl flooring in the global construction industry breakdown by key regions such as North America, Europe,Asia Pacific, and Rest of World.
– Growth opportunities: Analysis on growth opportunities in different segments, applications and regions.
– Strategic analysis: This includes M&A, new product development, competitive landscape, and expansion strategies of vinyl flooring in the global construction industry
– Emerging applications: Emerging applications of vinyl flooring in the global construction industry.
– Analysis of competitive intensity of the industry based on Porter’s Five Forces model.

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Roofing company levied hefty fine for repeat offence

WorkSafeBC has fined a Prince George roofing company for failing to ensure its workers had proper fall protection in place.

WorkSafeBC assessed Aardvark Roofing $17,531.85 after an inspector saw three of its employees, including a representative of the firm, without protection in place while working on a one-and-a-half-storey house.

One of the workers was at the edge of the roofing, according to a posting on the WorkSafeBC website, and they were exposed to a drop of nearly four metres (13 feet) onto parked vehicles, a metal trailer, concrete steps, and landscaping rocks.

The fine was imposed in September and it was the fifth time Aardvark has been fined for the offence in less than a year.

In June 2015, a $17,531.85 was also imposed after two workers, including a supervisor, were seen on a split-level house installing roofing shingles without protection in place.

In that instance, they were exposed to a fall of as much as five metres (17 feet) onto a metal trailer and concrete driveway.

WorkSafeBC also found the workers were using nail guns without wearing safety eyewear and first aid equipment and a first aid attendant were not available on site.

“Overall, the firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision needed to ensure their health and safety,” WorkSafeBC.

In December 2014, Aardvark was fined $7,500 in total for three similar infractions.

Patricia Robillard and Jami Witso are named in the postings as the business owners.

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Plano, beware of roofing scammers

A severe hailstorm hit the Dallas area last week, causing significant damage to buildings around Plano and surrounding cities – with roofs enduring the brunt of it.

In the wake of such damage, some untrustworthy contractors often surface, leading others to come forward and warn against potential scammers from elsewhere.

According to Karen Fox, executive director of North Texas Roofing Contractors Association (NTRCA), roofers in Texas are not required to have state licensing, registration and insurance, leaving an open door for scam artists, storm chasers and substandard work.

“It’s only been five days, so we don’t have any reported incidents at the moment, but just wait,” Fox said. “Phone calls will start coming in and contractors will be at your doorstep. Right now, we’re just in preventative mode.”

The NTRCA is a nonprofit that aims to help inform and protect consumers in North Texas. The organization is able to offer help and advice for homeowners and property owners in English and Spanish.

“When there’s a storm, a lot of people that do fences or other unrelated work suddenly become roofing contractors,” Fox explained. “They don’t know anything about putting on a roof, yet they’ll get some business cards made and tell people, ‘Yeah, we can put this on for you. Give us your insurance check and we’ll be back.’ Then they never come back.”

To highlight the NTRCA’s extensive related advice on its website, the nonprofit cautions homeowners to not hand over any money and not sign anything until they’ve done their research. A good, local, legitimate roofing company will not rush or pressure a potential customer and will be happy to answer questions, Fox said.

In a post on the Nextdoor site, an online community forum, Plano Police spokesman Officer David Tilley agreed that it is the perfect time for unscrupulous roof contractors to take advantage of unaware homeowners.

He added that there are several reputable roofing companies in the area that will offer honest and fair pricing. Several organizations, including NTRCA, Good Contractors List, Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as many popular insurance companies, can provide references for such honest businesses.

Tilley advised homeowners to remain cautious when choosing a contractor to do any kind of expensive home repairs.

According to BBB Scam Tracker, at least 175 scams dealing with home repairs have been reported since February 2015, with 16 of them in Texas and seven in the Dallas area.

In 2015, BBB Dallas received 1,058 complaints against roofing contractors. The highest spike in complaints against roofers happened in December.

“This correlates with our record November rainfall and hail storms and the subsequent December tornadoes,” said Phylissia Landix with the BBB. “This was unusual, as BBB finds that customers traditionally work with roofers in the summer months.”

NTRCA officials advise residents to check to make sure the roofing contractor is in good standing with the BBB. A contractor’s amount of experience says a lot about its reputability in North Texas.

The nonprofit also urges residents to research facts about the contractor’s insurance coverage and even request proof of certification.

“I always recommend that homeowners and property owners choose a company that is locally based,” said Curt Ehlers, a national roofing manufacturing representative. “People will come out of nowhere and aren’t reputable or reliable, and there would be no way to track them if they scam you.

“Never give any contractor money for work not done or to buy materials. Any reputable contractor has a supplier that will work with them.”

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Honda Asks Twitter Want a New Car? Responds with a Get a New Vine

On Monday July 15th, Honda launched a social media campaign using the short-form video application Vine as a way to reach people expressing their frustrations with their current car. They noticed a lot of people in social media share their daily vehicle problems, which could open up an engaging opportunity to help promote Honda’s Summer Clearance Event.

Prior to the day, they shared this video promoting what the social media team intended to do. Basically they would respond to people with car issues by creating a 6-second Vine video using the hashtag #WantNewCar.
Monday came and Honda created several Vine videos showing dealership sales people in khaki pants and blue shirts filming whimsical videos at Honda dealership. They responded in the following way with people in need of a new car.

So how did it do as a way to increase social conversation for Honda?

The following three charts show a couple things.  The first looks at the use of the #WantNewCar hashtag, with most of the activity coming from the paid Promoted trend on Honda bought on Twitter July 15th.

The second chart looks at mentions of “@Honda” to see what kind of lift came from people talking about the brand account or retweeting content from the campaign. The top piece of content shared was this Vine using YouTube sensation Rebecca Black that received 34 retweets and 25 favorites.

The third chart looks at overall mentions of “Honda” in the last 6 months. Ignoring the April spike due to the Boston Police looking for a Honda sedan at one point during the bombing manhunt, the conversation around Honda didn’t really move much and was normal during this past week’s vine event. This comes as no surprise as a lot of engagement on the #WantNewCar hashtag focused more on people wanting some other car than a Honda; though, quite a few people did ask Honda for a free car.

Mentions of “#WantNewCar”
Last 6 Months Tweets Mentioning “@Honda”
Last 6 Months Tweets Mentioning “Honda”

The campaign did provide some decent lift and received positive response from media and social media fans.  Plus it’s a fun creative execution that tried to engage Twitter users in a playful way.  That said, the hashtag might have been more of an issue with this campaign.

The night of the event I followed the conversation closely and came away with three common responses from the online community.

  • Most people who engaged with #WantNewCar thought Honda was asking them to share a negative experience with their current car (or lack of owning a car) so that they could win a free car from Honda.
  • Those who were hoping for a new car for free asked more often for something other than a Honda.  Pick your favorite aspirational sports car and that was likely what people were tweeting about.
  • Finally for those who found out that they were not getting any possibility of a free car, and may only get a free vine video, well that didn’t go over so well.

And while the Honda Vine videos were not as revolutionary or compelling as some other campaigns, the company did recently release this brand video showcasing Honda’s history in a fascinating way.

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