Digital communications agency Lateral has created “The Hybrid Debate”, an online forum to discuss the potential impact of hybrid cars on wider society. This open, uncensored debate is sponsored by Lexus and launches on the 12th December. Bloggers are encouraged to discuss the articles in their own blogs and add their comments to postings from a panel of expert contributors that includes Sir Bob Geldof, Joanna Yarrow, Neil Spiller and Richard Scase.

The Hybrid Debate encourages people to consider how a mass uptake of hybrid cars could impact on subject areas not immediately associated with the automotive sector, such as our dependence on the Middle East for oil and the way we design our buildings and cities.

“The challenge was to take a 360 degree view and imagine where hybrid technology might take us without getting too bogged down in technical detail. We were delighted to bring on board a panel with such a wide range of experience who embraced the subject matter and came up with some intelligent and insightful thoughts and predictions.” Said Lateral’s Strategy Director Douglas Smith

Matt Button is CRM & Database Marketing Manager, Lexus (GB) and chose Lateral for this project over several other agencies: “We’d originally considered a viral campaign but Lateral’s idea really impressed us and the idea of a serious debate felt more appropriate for our target audience. Given the changing nature of relationships between brands and their consumers we wanted to allow the audience to debate the subject and create a space for an open discussion.”

To mark the official launch of The Hybrid Debate, new contributors have been added to the site, including Sir Bob Geldof who discusses the global impact of increased car ownership in developing countries, changing attitudes to environmental issues and the London congestion charge.

The Hybrid Debate also includes written content from five specialist contributors and some visual depictions of a “hybrid London” to accompany Professor Neil Spiller’s articles about the impact of cleaner cars on urban design.

To see more, visit: www.thehybriddebate.com and www.thehybriddebate.com/blog

For further information please contact:
Karen Durham-Diggins kddPR
T: 020 8989 2541
E: kdd@easynet.co.uk
M: 07808 584 624

NOTES TO EDITORS

About The Hybrid Debate

The debate is focused around the impact of hybrid cars on five particular areas: the environment, business and the economy, families and lifestyle, politics and energy, and urban planning. The wider blogging community are encouraged to debate the issues in their own blogs and then tag their postings. Content is aggregated on the homepage of The Hybrid Debate with links to the bloggers own sites.

The panel of specialist contributors currently are:

Bob Geldof
Sir Bob Geldof is a singer, songwriter, business man and political activist. His campaigning experience gives him unique insight into the issues affecting developing countries.

Phil Sivell
Phil leads the climate change team at the Transport Research Laboratory’s Centre for Sustainability. He also works on a range of sustainable transport research and consultancy programmes.

Joanna Yarrow
Author of 1001 Ways You Can Save the Planet, Joanna specialises in sustainable lifestyles and communications, making sustainability interesting and accessible to broad audiences.

Richard Scase
One of the world's leading business forecasters, Richard's recent book Global Remix explores the impact of technological, social and political global trends on businesses and individuals.

Roger Kemp
Roger Kemp is a professor of engineering at the University of Lancaster. He is an expert on the environmental impact of electricity production and use, especially in relation to transport.

Chris Vernon
Chris Vernon edits the European edition of The Oil Drum, a popular weblog about energy issues such as “peak oil”. He is also a telecoms engineer with an academic background in computational physics.

Neil Spiller
Professor of Architectural and Digital Theory, Neil has written extensively on the future of architecture and urban environments, most notably as author of Visionary Architecture.

Further contributors will be added over the coming months.

About Lateral Net

Lateral http://www.lateral.net
Lateral is one of UK’s founding digital agencies. Established in June 1997, Lateral has evolved itself for the next major shift in the digital marketing space by repositioned itself as a strategic digital marketing agency. Lateral focuses on helping companies engage with online consumers and prosumers in the most effective way possible, helping them build long-term relations with individual consumers and communities. Lateral has launched new brand positioning strategies around Consumer Brand Ownership and Consumer Brand Control, which define how customers can engage and win customers in a consumer controlled media world.

Their pioneering expertise and professional approach has attracted recognition both within the new media industry, having been awarded several times for their work, as well as the consumer market as can be seen by their client list which includes: Levi’s® Europe, Faber and Faber, Little,Brown, Hachette Livre, Nintendo, RSPCA and Which?

About Lexus
Lexus is founded on the principle of the “relentless pursuit of perfection”. In every aspect of its vehicle design and manufacturing and its customer service, it strives constantly to achieve the highest possible standards, setting benchmarks for all its rivals in the prestige car market.

Lexus made its debut in Britain in 1990, following the marque’s international debut in North America the previous year. The model range has developed steadily to offer vehicles that meet a broad range of modern driving tastes and styles, but this growth has not detracted from the principles of quality, performance and attention to detail which are fundamental to Lexus.

At the same time, Lexus continues to achieve the motor industry’s highest levels of customer satisfaction, as demonstrated by an unprecedented seven successive Gold Awards in the annual J.D. Power and Associates UK customer satisfaction survey and a host of other quality awards in Europe and North America.

Lexus does not just compete with its rivals on established terms, it also takes a lead in setting new standards for the industry. The most important example of this yet is the introduction of hybrid power, first in the RX 400h – the world’s first hybrid powered high-performance SUV – followed by the GS 450h luxury saloon and, in 2007, the flagship LS 600h limousine. These models provide Lexus customers with a range of hybrid power vehicles unmatched by any other premium manufacturer.

Published on: 12:00AM on 12th December 2007