Suzuki adds some pizzazz to the New York Auto Show

As the automotive world prepared for the 2006 New York International Auto Show, American Suzuki Motor Corp. and its AOR, PainePR, were determined to craft a distinctive, city-specific effort to generate excitement around both the automaker's exhibits and the event itself.

As the automotive world prepared for the 2006 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) in April, American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) and its AOR, PainePR, were determined to craft a distinctive, city-specific effort to generate excitement around both the automaker's exhibits and the event itself.

To do that, ASMC partnered with NYIAS organizers and NYC nonprofit The Fresh Air Fund, essentially transforming a 2006 Grand Vitara X-Sport into a giant coloring book.

Strategy

ASMC positions its Grand Vitara as a vehicle for "life enthusiasts" who pursue adventure-seeking lifestyles. This is "in perfect synergy with the mission of The Fresh Air Fund," says Andrew Nicolai, PainePR client service manager. The fund helps inner-city youth experience their own life adventures by bringing them from New York's toughest neighborhoods to summer camp in the country.

Tactics

The automaker recruited Broadway stage painter Billy the Artist to transform a Grand Vitara into a super-sized coloring book for Fresh Air Fund kids to paint. With a nod toward both Suzuki and the nonprofit, Billy integrated active, adventurous, outdoor themes into the paint scheme. The masterpiece was displayed - courtesy of the NYIAS - during the show's media days, April 12 to 13. Billy and representatives from ASMC, PainePR, and The Fresh Air Fund were on hand to answer questions.

Results

A relatively small investment for Suzuki paid off in huge coverage, buzz, and corporate social responsibility, says Nicolai. And ASMC formed a relationship with "a great organization." Media exposure included automotive trades, the Associated Press, the New York Post, and The Tony Danza Show.

Future

ASMC and the NYIAS donated the one-of-a-kind SUV to The Fresh Air Fund to transport kids from the city to summer camps in upstate New York.

PR team: American Suzuki Motor Corp. (Brea, CA) and PainePR (Irvine, CA)

Campaign: Grand Vitara-Fresh Air Fund partnership

Duration: April 2006

Budget: $25,000

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