Auto firms switch to CD press packs

DETROIT: Shiny new car and truck models weren't the only signs of the future to be seen at the North American International Auto Show last week.

DETROIT: Shiny new car and truck models weren't the only signs of the future to be seen at the North American International Auto Show last week.

DETROIT: Shiny new car and truck models weren't the only signs of the future to be seen at the North American International Auto Show last week.

A survey by the Detroit Free Press of the press kits in the show's media center revealed that the world's automakers are rapidly substituting CD-ROMs for paper packets.

Patrick Laurey, director of operations for PR support firm MacKenzie Company, told the newspaper that in former years, he would have a crew of 40 spending a month assembling 16,000 to 20,000 press kits for the show. This year, a far smaller crew was needed to assemble only 700.

The difference was attributed to the use of CDs, which can each hold up to 700 floppy disks' worth of text and graphics - a huge weight, paper and cost saving compared with the old packets, which might have contained 60 to 80 pages of copy and 10 to 20 slides.

This year, Volvo and Subaru each used CDs exclusively. Dan Johnston, Volvo's product communications manager, told the Free Press paper kits cost dollars 30 each, versus dollars 5 for CDs. Further, it is a lot easier to make last-minute changes - the curse of PR - to a CD than to paper.

Next year, the North American International Auto Show's PR operation itself plans to switch to CDs from paper packets, according to Joe Rohatynski, VP of Franco PR, which has the show account.





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