As expected, Chicagoans turned out in droves to see the latest model cars and concept cars at the Chicago 2011 auto show on its last day, Sunday, Feb. 20.
There were a number of creative displays. And, quite frankly, I was surprised that the majority of the creative displays were produced by mid-level manufacturers and not luxury, high-end companies, who seemingly have extra money to burn.
Chevrolet, Cadillac and Toyota, in my opinion, produced the best exhibits.
Chevy’s Volt was definitely one of the leaders for the most creative exhibit, with a test drive set in an idyllic park setting, complete with grass, trees and real flowers. The flowers were an unexpected treat, bringing a fresh scent to the otherwise bland exhibit hall smell. What a great way to get potential customers to fall in love with your product, than to give them a free test drive on their terms.
Cadillac’s interactive display was clever as well. The enormous display wall, which resembled a giant iPod touch, allowed visitors to learn more about the company’s product lineup through a drag-and-drop multimedia screen. Although I’m not in the market for a Cadillac, the exhibit surely caught my attention and, apparently, that of countless other visitors as well. Because of their creativity, I am sure this brand will remain top-of-mind for those who are currently in the market for a new car and those who will be soon. Job well done, Cadillac.
Toyota made great use of creative marketing and, in the aftermath of their faulty accelerators and the resulting public relations disaster, perhaps the company is finally bouncing back. Not only did they engage attendees by allowing them to make professional commercials to promote Toyota’s hybrid star, the Prius, the company went above and beyond on event sponsorship by securing prime marketing real estate in the exhibit hall with Prius banners. Not stopping there, Toyota asked visitors to text for more info on certain car models and used QR codes for the techno-savvy in attendance.
Manufacturers at the Chicago Auto Show 2011 showed that trade show marketing doesn’t always have to be a bore. I was thoroughly impressed.
Did you attend the show? If so, what were your thoughts? Impressive or a waste of money?