Auto show season might be over, but the marketing event season is in full swing. At concerts, state fairs, sporting goods stores, hotels, golf tournaments, baseball games, food and wine festivals, gay pride festivals, dog parks, any kind of place where a target demographic might gather, you will find a car company showing off the vehicle they think target demographic should be driving.
It could be a ride and drive, it could be a static display ,or it could be an entire day’s experience like AMG Challenge, Chevy Rev It Up or Taste of Lexus (although big events like these seem to have been put on pause with the onslaught of the recession). Regardless of the level of formality or the amount of activity, all have one thing in common: People like me are working there.
See, we booth babes are no one-trick ponies. Many product specialists work special events in the auto show off-season in a parking lot near you. Not surprisingly, people are just as ill-behaved in their local parks as they are on the auto show floor.
Want to have a great experience at an automotive marketing event? Here are some handy tips:
1. All auto show rules apply. That means no hitting on me, no photos without permission, no dirty/racist jokes, and no pooping in our tent.
2. Leave your sense of entitlement at home. How nice for you that you’re CEO of a venture capital firm that could buy and sell this whole operation with a single phone call. You still have to wait in line to drive this car like everyone else.
3. Please be respectful of the program rules I am delicately trying to impart; i.e. prizes and giveaways. “One per household” means exactly that. Trying to use your dog’s name on a registration form to get a free tote bag is utterly transparent – I know your brother isn’t “right around the corner” and I certainly know his name isn’t Sparky. A better tactic is to come back at the end of the day and ask nicely if you can have any leftover schwag.
4. Think I’m going to let you drive like a maniac? Think again. I’ve been trained by a pro driver on how to take over and stop a vehicle in motion from the right seat. Personally, I would rather tell you in my stern “Angry Teacher” voice to pull the car over immediately and get out. I won’t hesitate to do either if I feel like I’m in danger.
5. Don’t even think about trying any funny business while we’re alone in the car. From the second the doors shut I have my personal cell phone in hand with an emergency number pre-dialed and ready to send. We have your full name, address and drivers license info back at the main event tent. More importantly, I know how to hurt you pretty badly. The people waiting for me know exactly how long our route takes and will come looking if I’m more than a few minutes late. Try messing with me. I dare you.
6. As much as I wish the opposite were true, I am not Supreme Lawmaker of the Known Universe. That means I must follow existing laws to the letter and insist you do the same, for both liability and safety reasons. Yes you do have to wear your seatbelt, yes your child does have to be in a car seat, no you cannot answer your cell phone (actually I won’t let you do this regardless of the laws in your state), and no you can’t drive if you don’t have your license with you.
7. If you think for a second I’m going to let you drive this car after you came into the tent with a beer in your hand, you’re even more drunk than I thought you were. Not gonna happen.
8. It is even more important to follow scrupulous personal hygiene habits during the hot summer months. Shower twice if you have to. If I smelled the way some of you do there’s no way you’d get into a car with me.
9. I’m not asking for your social security number, your first born child or a DNA sample. I’m asking for your email address, and if you want the stupid branded hat, then you have to trade your information for it. Unsubscribing from an email list takes approximately half a second. It won’t kill you, I promise.
10. If you’re a current owner, show us your keys – we often have special goodies set aside just for you as a thanks for your loyalty!
See you on the road!
The Booth Babe is an anonymous auto show model who dishes about what really goes on behind the scenes. Read her blog at http://doyoucomewiththecar.blogspot.com. And if you treat her nicely, read her each Sunday at Thetruthaboutcars.com