Big companies are great publishers of the company magazine – they love ‘em. And journalists love ‘em too: they offer paid work in an age of citizen ‘journalism’ where everyone fancies themselves able and capable with implements of mass communication.
Often, these monuments to corporate vanity – sorry, I meant fascinating journals that explain, yet again, how whisky is made – offer little of interest to a community whose sole unifying factor is the product they all bought or the place where they bought it.
So hats off to Audi whose latest company magazine contains one small article which genuinely offers readers something magnificent: factually correct consumer information of interest to every car buyer.
And what is this gem? It explains, simply, clearly and without any defensive posturing how official fuel consumption figures are obtained and why you might not be able to achieve the same figures in your own car. And why you should ignore the Daily Mail when it lets loose another rant about the disparity between official figures and ‘real life experience’.
The facts are clear. Requiring neither rocket surgery or brain science all official figures come from identical tests carried out by all manufacturers under laboratory conditions using a rolling road (no human intervention) so that consumers can compare makes and models in the sure knowledge that all the figures were obtained the same way. This makes for valid comparisons; apples with apples as it were.
Why can’t you achieve the same consumption on the road in real driving conditions? The simple answer is that you don’t drive your car in a laboratory. Variables including different humans with different driving styles, on varying road surfaces, in changing weather conditions, on a bewildering range of tyres and other factors would not deliver a uniform figure suitable for comparison.
The point here is that a company magazine can – and in this case has – deliver useful, sound and relevant information to its self-selecting audience. And that is something of a rarity in the world of corporate publishing. Refreshing in fact.