Ah, "The Walk of Shame". Almost a right of passage to all young people the world over: and the older ones who just can't get their shit together.
For the handful of you who have no clue on what I'm on about: 'The Walk of Shame' is traditionally refereeing to the walk one must take from usually a hotel or dorm room, the morning after a night of sexual pleasure, most times with a stranger, back to your place. The shame part comes from the stares and occasional cats calls from people you see and meet on your way home.
Having worked as a bartender for several years, I've seen this walk countless times and it always amuses me. I'm no harsh judge of people and their chosen activities usually, but sometimes, I just have to say something, at least in my own head.
So who is on the 'Walk of Shame' today? It's Jaguar, the company, the people who 'ok'd' and produced the XE live reveal show and even the actors in it. I can't really blame the the actors but if you were any part of this, then you are on THE WALK.
I decided to write this after reading Jason Torchinsky's brilliant piece on Jalopnik Dear God This Interminable Jaguar XE Launch/Play/Thing Was Embarrassing
Jaguar certainly isn't the first nor will it be the last company to produce a true eye opening, embarrassing, over the top, wince inducing and at times, vomit educing over produced product introduction show.
Jaguar is in good company. In the consumer electronics industry, Samsung is legendary for it's product introduction extravaganzas. Take a look at this highlight reel from CES 2011 Samsung CES 2011
Samsung has several others and they are all delightful, hallucinatory journeys into never never land. Now Jaguar has joined them and we should all be grateful.
"Grateful! WTF are you talking about?" One line that Jason wrote had me howling with laughter. "Who's idea was this? Who, exactly would this be targeted at? Does Jag think there's a massive untapped market of lovers of both community theater and needle drugs that they can sell new XEs to?"
Damn that's funny! But the answer is of course, NO! The serious question is, what is the XE and who will buy it and why. At least that's the question for Jaguar itself. For us, we ask about this live show and what it, in isolation. was and who it was for.
Honestly, I have no idea. Jaguar has over the last few years gotten it's MOJO back, especially with the new F Type. The XF was the real kick off but the new F Type is the real coming out party.
Some have said brilliant and all have at least said 'great'. One danger that no one seems to be talking about though is the link to the past and the very thin line between yesterdays icons and today's new stars.
With true icons like E&D Types and XK Series, how do you create something totally new, without alienating your old customers and the world at large? Sometimes I wonder if too much weight is given to the existing 'base' and you shouldn't worry about them at all: just ask Cadillac and Lincoln.
It was painfully evident at this show that Jaguar is intent on holding onto the past. That's not necessarily a bad thing but it may not be a good thing either down the road. I have no clue, besides the upcoming SUV/CUV it should introduce next year, what Jaguar has in store over the next decade.
The E Type is one of, if not, the the sexiest cars ever made. It is a car from 1960/61 and totally of it's time. It's wonderful and I love it but everything in it's place and a place for everything.
The XE reveal showed how dangerous it can be and is to rely on and hold up the past too much and go over the top. The car itself, well I'm sort of unimpressed. That is just my initial reaction to the looks, it's not ugly by any stretch but it didn't blow my doors off.
So again I said I/we should be grateful for the 'show'. I hope Jaguar looks back at this and has a moment of clarity and looks at the almost desperate clinging to the past and decides to start a new. I love my old Jags but I don't live in 1961.
One last thing: "Whatever, I liked it. It's just so ridiculous. I wish every car reveal was some sort of drunken, mumbling, weird affair like this. It's so much better than what we normally get." Matt Hardigree.
Be careful what you wish for! In my next post I will address this very problem and spell it out to the CEO's and VP's of car companies that insist on speaking at car shows.