In challenging economic times, Chicago Auto Show officials offered a solution to exhibitors to produce their news conferences utilizing a shared-use “Grand Concourse Media Stage.” Five manufacturers and several other groups used the same basic—yet quite complete—news set to conduct their product reveals, award presentations and executive availabilities.
From all accounts, the idea was a hit with those who used the stage, as well as the media who attended the events. Many commented on the convenience and reported how much they appreciated the innovation of the Chicago Auto Show in being sensitive to the expenses of producing news events. Could it have been set up differently? Will there be tweaks and improvements for next year? Of course, as this was our first time with this setup and we were all learning. But we think there’s almost universal agreement that it was a hell of a good start. We always welcome more input—and you all know how to find us.
Comments from the manufacturers:
• “Overall, this worked very well for us. For the price, I would have felt silly doing our event at the stand. The set-up was good and the crew we worked with were good, too. Access to the event was easy and really couldn’t be in a better location. And it was nice having auto show staff available during our rehearsal to make us feel comfortable with our last-minute requests.”
• “There were some bobbles with the sound system during the rehearsal but they were mostly ironed out by the time of our news conference. Still, I was concerned and it made rehearsing a little difficult and we could have been a little crisper during our show. Well done.”
• “A few thoughts: First, without the Grand Concourse Media Stage availability we would not have not a press conference in Chicago. Only when the show provided a cost-effective platform were we able to do a press conference. Our budget limitations simply made it impossible without the Grand Concourse Stage.”
• “Even if, in the future, we might have a press conference at our booth, knowing that a stage like this would be available would be a big plus in our book for the Chicago Auto Show. The Chicago team makes it one of the easiest shows to work with on a press basis.”
• “In the future, more branding into the stage would be great, but I know that you need to make it multipurpose and able to be ready for the next event right away.”
• “We’re too happy to report that were it not for your grand concourse stage, Suzuki would not have hosted a press conference reveal for our new Equator concept trucks. The overwhelming amount of media hits we garnered was a direct result of the press conference in the common show stand area. We certainly hope that other shows take note. Thank you again!”
• “I just wanted to thank you again for your support in making our “Share the Love” breakfast come together so well. I think your new conference format will become a model for other shows and, given our tighter budgets, we most likely would not have put together an event had we been required to arrange our own AV, lighting etc.
And comments from the media:
• “I think it’s a good idea. It’s so much easier to have the press conference in one place and it saves money. These days, I’d much rather see the manufacturers put money into their operations than impressing me.”
• “It was a brilliant and productive idea and not only saved a lot of walking, but generated larger audiences. I hope it’s a regular part of future shows.”
• “A very smart thing to do. Along with cutting the cost of the presentations, best part was having enough room so that everyone could find a seat.”
• “In the interest of news, auto shows must be careful to stress the importance of legitimate media access to the presentations, rather than reserving the most and best vantage points for corporate big shots.”
• “The concept is a very good one. You’ll need to upgrade it i.e. functionality, to let makers dress up and customize their presentations a bit more, for one thing. And you need to have a setup for distributing press kits just as makers normally do at their own display stands. But this is a positive concept.”
• “Some tweaking would help—maybe something more visually permanent for a backdrop-would be useful.”
• “A little refinement never hurt anyone. Visiibility from the photo areas and clear lines of sight for everyone should be a priority.”
• “I thought it worked well, although the shuffle with back-to-back press conference was a little awkward.”
• “Every auto show should be doing this.”
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