40 years on: Bruce death still felt by Mclaren marketers looking for something other than this shiny, sterile, hi-tech bauble sales pitch

Moral kiosk: Mclaren personnel gathered last Friday to mourn the 40th anniversary of the passing of their founder, Bruce whilst marketing and advertising teams continued to struggle flogging their merchandise by pretending the team was some sort of zeitgeist version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, writes our monogrammed t-shirt correspondent, Chad Bappage.

Eulogising the Kiwi, who perished in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970, team chief Martin Whitmarsh burbled on about how much he still meant to the company, presumably because not doing so would imply they would have popped into existence out of thin air.

But the premature loss of Mclaren’s architect has proved far more poignant to members of the current incarnation’s marketing department who have struggled for years to become enthused about the team’s relentlessly asexual sheen of corporate professionalism.

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“Bruce’s death was a major body blow to the whole of Mclaren”, advertising nobody Fran Mega-Burger commented. “And even though the team isn’t owned by the same group of people who owned it before the ones who own it now, most of the people in the company weren’t alive when he died and of those, most didn’t even realise there was a founder we feel his loss greatly. Especially because, frankly; we’ve run out of ways to polish the already glasslike, mirrored turd he bequeathed us.”

Mclaren’s glinting metallic carapace of doom image, heightened by the construction of its famous state-of-the-art James Bond baddie-effect hideaway Parapet, has been an increasingly tough sell to a public more easily enticed by the flyaway hair capriciousness of saucy, galloping flame-haired temptresses like Ferrari. Or Force India.

“It’s not fair”, Fran continued, “Enzo Ferrari lived long enough to bequeath a legacy of elegant tempestuous engineering, Machiavellian scheming and tragic death to cloak its team in a perpetual miasmic cloud of autoerotic romance. All we have is Ron Dennis’ Etch-a-Sketch frown, a forensically swept garage and 200 free texts every month with this mobile contract” he grumbled.

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Other teams’ advertising and sales departments have criticized Mclaren for their attitude of bleating self-pity, however.

“It’s no guarantee that if Bruce hadn’t pegged out, Mclaren would be a much sexier brand now,” rival gut-curdling ringpiece ad exec, Armitage Shanks brayed at us. “He was a renowned engineer and businessman so could easily have ended up having an effect not dissimilar to Ron’s vision of a team having all the allure of a shimmering, hollow coffin”.

“Besides”, he added, “I work for fucking Virgin; if they want to see the effects of a charisma bypass on a team without enough money to even get its owner’s teeth fixed, they can come and do my job”, he complained bitterly.

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