If you happen to fly over the Motor City, you can't miss two big new Ford Motor Co. logos on the roof of Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions try to play football. The Detroit News said the logos cost a combined $175,000. But a marketing professor at Wayne State University in Detroit says they'll pay for themselves "several times over" when the stadium is flashed across TV screens around the world during the Super Bowl in Detroit next February. Not only that, but they're a nice in-your-face to employees at General Motors' world headquarters a few blocks away, who have a clear view of the Ford logo each and every workday.
BIG-WHEEL BAGS - A Virginia company, Passchal Products LLC, is selling handbags made of used inner tubes from farm tractors and construction vehicles. Part of the character comes from "blemishes and dents" from the "wear and tear of the road," the company says. If $175 for a used inner tube seems a bit pricey, remember that the bags have an interior light that turns on when they're opened. And there's a lifetime guarantee in case of a blowout.
DOIN' THE BLING THING - The custom ride of Corey Maggette earned the Los Angeles Clippers hoops star the title "King of Bling" at General Motors' All-Car Showdown in Los Angeles on July 12. The charity event showcased tricked-out GM vehicles owned by 24 celebrity auto enthusiasts. Maggette's winning 2003 Cadillac Escalade had a "blue raspberry" paint scheme, 27-inch Lexani wheels, a chrome engine and 22 TV monitors.
STAR POWER - Like all foreign automakers, Hyundai Motor Co. struggles to sell cars in Japan. Now it has a rare opportunity, thanks to a Korean romance on Japanese TV. The series has made Korean star Bae Yong Joon so popular that thousands of middle-aged Japanese housewives travel to Korea to visit the land of the heartthrob star, whom they call Yonsama. They visit places where the series is taped. They snap pictures at key locations. And they buy souvenirs, such as socks with Yonsama's picture on them. Now Hyundai has hired Bae to star in a commercial for the updated Sonata NF sedan, which will be launched in Japan in September. A lucky break for Hyundai: The name of the popular TV drama translates to "Winter Sonata."