Lighter side of branding | Getting out of tight spots…

Logo_KIA Motors_dian hasan branding_KR 1This TVC for the 2014 KIA Sorento SUV (Geez, the 2014 model is out already and we’ve just entered 2013??!!@@!!) made me chuckle not only because the ad is funny, but because I could totally relate to the dad’s resourcefulness! I’d do the same! And God only knows that I’ve had my share of adventures involving parking garages around the world!

When you live in for California too long – where parking space is NOT a common luxury – you become spoiled! I hardly park in massive buildings, and remembering where you park on a street-level open space is a breeze. That’s not the case elsewhere, as in most other countries space is at a premium, and that includes limited spaces in parking lots, especially of the multi-story car park type.

On several occasions, at massive shopping malls in Jakarta and Singapore, I’ve forgotten where I parked. I had to search for close to an hour, traipsing every floor like a lunatic trying to locate my car. The situation gotten so worse in Jakarta at one time, that I resorted to asking a security guard to take me on his bike exploring all the floors until I found it.

Dodging automatic gates is another specialty of mine, while on a family trip to Europe a few years back, we rented a big van to accommodate two families of eight, and while parked at our Prague hotel basement, I lost the parking ticket, and decided to just drive through the automatic gate. I tailgated a car that was leaving the garage, and zipped through immediately after the gate opened for him. Alas, our van couldn’t accelerate fast enough, and the automatic gate’s lever hit my roof and side window. I sped away from the garage onto the main road with a major “thump”, jumping over the speed bump at the exit that I had failed to see. Just like in thriller movies. Granted, all kids in the van were thrilled to the max, but not the parents (excluding yours truly naturally!)

Last year, at the gargantuan Coachella Concert in Indio, near Palm Springs, I was so tired after a full day (and night) of concerts – when it was a time to go back to our hotel in the wee hours of the friggin’ cold night – I couldn’t locate my car. You see, Coachella is set over several polo fields, which all look the same – flat and green. And at night – after catching that night’s headliner, featuring none other than DJ Tiësto – an event that amassed thousands of gyrating young bodies moving to the deafening noise while strobe lights bathe the crowd from all possible directions, in a smoky night air filled with fumes of all conceivable sources – the majority of which was weed – I was knacked! It really didn’t matter whether you inhaled or not, as it was the only air quality available! We still had to drive about 40 minutes to our hotel with my son and his teenage posse, and the last thing I needed was forgetting where I parked my car. Alas, forget I did! I walked aimlessly, covering what seemed like ten giant polo fields, and circled every possible parking lot. After an hour or so I was close to giving up, I had to wait until most cars had left, and the security guard was available to give me a ride in their golf buggy and embark on a SAR (Search and Rescue) Mission to locate my car. I was parked in the farthest imaginable lot. Or so it seemed. That night was the most restful sleep I had in years!

Oh and did I mention that I had my car towed in New York’s Times Square TWICE! It’s as if I hadn’t learned to read parking sign posts carefully! At first I considered myself a smart alec being able to park so close to Times Square on the street. But the excitement was of course short lived. After taking in the sights and checking out the quirky red steps that have now become a must-visit, my son and I walked back to the street and our car was gone! It’s that weird sinking feeling, when your heart just drops to your foot, and panic mode sets in. Retrieving the vehicle from the police car pound at one of the Piers along West Side Highway is a major hassle and waste of time. Getting it done past midnight with throngs of international tourists of all stripes, color and shape, was no joke. Lines were long, and the attendants were short on patience and friendliness. Well, that’s the best way to learn. Although it took me two incidents to help drive the message home into my cerebrum.

And lest I’ve forgotten to refer back to the KIA Sorento commercial, I’ve resorted to doing that too. I’ve parked in narrow spaces before, and had to get out through the passenger side. Luckily I could still squeeze my Eastern European butt and Beer Belly through the narrow door opening.

About dianhasan

Brand Storyteller, Travel Writer, Speaker, Creative Writer & Thinker - avid observer of randomness in everyday life - Sustainable Business, Eco Matters, Sustainable Urban Issues, Architecture, Heritage Conservation, Innovation & Brand-Strategy, Cross-Cultural Communications, Travel, Tourism & Lifestyle.
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