Here at Wellington, we are pleased to be able to call a number of the biggest companies in the automotive industry clients. We have had the privilege of working with several major brands on everything from sales incentives to national preview events, and we have not only attended, but also produced our fair share of vehicle reveals. When we approach a show such as the recent LA Auto Show, we are always doing so in an appreciation of the creative approaches displayed by some of the brands in attendance and with an eye for further innovation. Below are some highlighted lessons and reminders from the 2016 LA Auto Show.
Remember the basics
There are some things that seem common sense when building buzz for a vehicle reveal, but it is surprising how often such details can get overlooked. Covering the vehicle, for example, can create a sense of anticipation and excitement. Even if the product isn’t something for the end consumer, people will still want to stick around to see what’s under the sheet. Similarly, utilizing a dynamic, well spoken, high-energy individual can also serve to increase excitement. If this person also happens to be a global executive, you have the bonus of appealing to brand loyalists. Bottom line: if people are entertained or engaged, they will keep listening. If they aren’t, they’ll move on.
Create eye-catching detail
Anyone can put up a sign. But if your sign contains interactive pieces such as panels that occasionally flip to display a new image, you’re much more likely to attract attention. Another idea is to create a unique walkway that encourages foot traffic to cut through your booth. Such walkways also create opportunity for unique branding experiences (think photo/video tunnel) and marketing giveaways. Alternatively, you can grab the attendee’s ear instead of his eye by playing music to create an informal party atmosphere. This method was used effectively by a number of this year’s participants.
Consider a different perspective
Mitsubishi drew a crowd when they utilized two children for their message. The discussion between the children and the automotive brand revolved around safety and featured scripting with key highlights, sound effects, and a final invitation to visit the booth. Another company incorporated Motor Sports into their presentation, complete with appearances by well-known drivers, which can be a strong attention-getter through celebrity alone.
Make it an experience
Many attendee favorites included booths that had an experiential element to them. One company offered massage chairs and coffee bars while another created buzz with specialty juices, cocktails and snacks. Another created an interactive element with a photo booth. Allowing attendees the opportunity to take a photo and share it on social media is also a great approach and one that extends value into the digital space. One notable company took the photo experience up a notch by offering a video takeaway. With the help of a green screen, attendees could act out an action scene with the vehicle and post the video online. Another used a live DJ to create a high-energy atmosphere, which drew further attention when their new vehicle drove out of the DJ booth.
Amplify the experience with a partnership
Nissan made a big splash at this year’s show by partnering with Star Wars on a limited-edition vehicle. By appealing to such a universal fandom, Nissan was able to create a sense of urgency as fans recognized the vehicle would not be around for long. They further ensured their announcement stood out by integrating graphic simulation into their press announcement. A specialized video made the viewer feel as though he was driving the car and the car was in a Star Wars movie. Pyrotechnics were also incorporated to further elevate the experience. This mix of partnership, digital and real world experience elements created a strong presentation that got a significant amount of attention. While not everyone has the natural tie of a vehicle name that matches the title of a highly anticipated cultural event, the mix of elements is one that can indeed be recreated across brands and products.
No matter the years of experience, or how many vehicle reveals one may have been through, examples like these show that a little creative thought can go a long way towards amplifying the experience and creating excitement about a product. Elements of storytelling and experience creation woven into an event, meeting or incentive can make the difference between ordinary and something that builds excitement and inspires action.