It’s no secret that a lot of Motorwerks clients hold annual and semiannual car shows as a means of introducing their respective communities to their products, physical locations and brand identities. Most do it with great success too! Generally, when a client approaches us with this idea in mind, our first question is “are you sure?” Fact is, our team attends hundreds of cars shows per year collectively and there are a lot of existing opportunities wherein sponsorship, vendor participation or general show participation can be just as effective, but without all the liability that can potentially arise from exposing yourself, your staff and your facilities to hundreds of fragile, highly valuable, usually vintage items and the sometimes emotionally changed owners who are there to show them off. Although both approaches certainly have their merits, but for an organization looking to get their feet wet, we almost always recommend the latter angle first.
With this said, when seeking these opportunities for our clients, we usually refer to five different areas of qualifying criteria:
- The Cars
Of course, the cars are the stars, but it goes much deeper than that. What kind of objective do you have and what audience are you trying to reach? Obviously, there’s plenty of wonderful JDM shows scattered across the globe, but if you are trying to sell classic Lamborghini or Shelby parts, a Concorso Italiano or a MCACN would obviously be a better suited source for your efforts. The cars ultimately dictate the entire objective and it is perfectly reasonable to dictate that in the preplanning and qualifying stages.
- Location and Facilities
Why are the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Villa d’Este considered the most prestigious shows on Earth? I mean, look where they are! Same can be said, that if you want huge crowds and lots of buzz. Nothing there can compete with the SEMA show in Las Vegas. What if you are looking to simply introduce your local service center to neighboring businesses? Look to the local cars and coffee or the Friday night show at the hot dog place up the street. The location of the show and the surrounding backdrop has almost as much to do with the cars involved, in regard to the eyeballs that it attracts. Always make sure your product and/or service lines up with that objective as perfectly as possible.
- A Charity Component
Cool cars and great causes have gone hand in hand with each other since rubber was virtually first introduced to road. This is an important tradition to car culture and it’s one that should continue to be taken seriously. In addition to helping make the world a better place, opportunities like this can also provide additional avenues towards PR opportunities and in turn a more positive brand image. Plus, it’s just plain the right thing to do. We always prioritize shows and events with a charity component for our clients and you should too!
- Celebrity Involvement
Another long-standing element of a great car show is who your audience thinks might be involved or might be in attendance. Fact is, cool people like cool cars and that combination in one place will attract even more cool people (IE the people you want in your customer base). One of the great things about specialty automotive at all levels, remains the subjectivity of cool. Could it be a movie star? Sure. How about a race car driver? Yep! What about a famous spokesmodel or celebrity builder? It certainly could be either of those too. It’s really up to your potential customers to decide what they are seeking here. What’s up to you, is to figure out who these players are and then how to get your logo next to their name on a flier or a banner.
- A Cultural and Lifestyle Connection
At the end of the day, this is what matters the most. If the car show you are interested in getting involved with puts you in a situation to engage with your desired customer base, it’s ultimately a win. Era, presentation, participating musical acts and all the above factors contribute to this, so find a show or series of shows that allows you to showcase what’s great about what you do, to like minded people who are looking to connect. Afterall, that’s what cool cars are really all about. It’s about that connection!
The Cure to the Current Quandary of Car Culture?
One of the things we hear the most from clients, is concerns regarding what is happening with the future of car culture. While there continues to be no question that things are changing, we adamantly disagree with the notion that it’s going away any time soon. Recently we came across a very exciting new series of events called FuelFest. Test launched in LA and the UK in 2018/2019, FuelFest is a joint effort by Fast and Furious movie franchise notables Tyrese Gibson and Cody Walker (Number 4) and will be going nationwide starting September 19th, from Motorwerks own back yard, at the outstanding Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona (Number 2). Although similar to perennial festival style favorites like Hot Import Nights or Good Guys, FuelFest seems to have a much more expansive feel and features not just Import Tuners or Hotrods, but American Muscle and European Sportscars alike (Number 1). Most excitingly, it seems to be pointed directly at the future of the hobby. Benefitting the late Paul Walker’s Reach Out WorldWide charity (Number 3), the event will also offer notable musical acts and DJ’s preforming as well as drag and drift racing exhibitions and an extended vendor area. All in all, we are very excited about the potential of this event and feel it is certainly worthy of everyone’s support. If you are in the area and have the opportunity, we are suggesting that everybody in some way take part. Whether it be as a vendor, sponsor, car show participant, or just letting your crew have a couple hours off, to go meet some new people are partake in the fun (Number 5), as demonstrated, it meets all the criteria of a great car show. We can’t wait!
Darin Roberge is CEO of Motorwerks Marketing and is a Marketing and Media Consultant in the Specialty Automotive and Live Events industries. Darin has been named a Business Trendsetter by Arizona Foothills Magazine, is a two-time nominee to Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list and is one of Sports Car Market Magazine’s 40 Under 40. Learn more about Darin at www.MotorwerksMarketing.com