By Peter Scobie, Senior Producer
Most of the reviews on this year’s Motor Show have focused on the brands that have decided not to take part such as BMW, Audi and other vehicles driven by drug dealers.
Nonetheless, I thought I would check it out, of course wearing my massive but invisible digital producer hat. Here are my musings/healthy takeaways:
Ford kicked ass
They may have lost Bathurst but Ford had all guns blazing at the Motor Show. Thankfully John Farnham wasn’t there. Instead they took over the area outside the entrance with a massive test drive circuit constructed by transport containers. It was very imposing and left quite an impression for everyone attending the show.
Ford also ran a neat social campaign whereby users could submit photos of the new Kuga on Twitter and Instagram that were then aggregated into a 360 view of the car on their website.
Finally Ford had one of the best stand ‘brand experiences’. A massive room with all encompassing IMAX style projection walls housed their flagship vehicles. Again this made a great impression.
No brand got iPad displays right
I’d say 50% of stands had iPads next to each vehicle to present key vehicle information and capture leads. They were usually mounted on fixed stands that suited people in wheelchairs but weren’t that user friendly for everyone else.
The interfaces used size tiny font and rarely had intuitive navigation. Lags or poor navigation resulted in people just walking off. Users were going up to the iPads obviously wanting more information about a product and then walking away confused, frustrated and probably none the wiser. What a woeful brand engagement.
Some brands just gave their iPads to hot promo staff who would capture your mobile, star sign and other key information when you showed any interest in a car (unless you were a teenage boy or had too many tattoos to drive a Mercedes).
Brands that owned the space owned their competitors.
So many stands just felt like dealerships with 7/11 lighting. Ford, Hyundai and Lexus did a great job transforming their space into a branded experience through dynamic lighting, digital displays and trendy tunes from Sean Parker’s latest Spotify playlist.
Obama and Mitt could sell a car or two.
The stands that engaged the best involved sales reps giving ‘town hall style’ presentations. I saw a great presentation at the Nissan stand for the environmentally friendly ‘Leaf’ that featured a customer driving a vehicle on rollers and experiencing an electric car for the first time.
Ultimately, the auto industry needs to work harder at these types of events to excite, engage and, most importantly, surpass customers’ expectations. It’s too easy to just plonk your products on a lazy susan and expect everyone to go woooooooooow when the attractive model (lazy but not called Susan) pulls the cover off. Get the punters in the car and get them driving. Sounds impossible at a Motor Show but Ford and Nissan did exactly that.