Campaign: Big PR pulls in punters to Monaco car show - Exhibition PR

Campaign: Top Marques Monaco

Client: Blenheim Exhibitions

PR team: Big PR

Timescale: August 2003-April 2004

Budget: £20,000

Luxury motor show Top Marques Monaco, organised by Blenheim Exhibitions, was scheduled to take place from 22 to 25 April. But as the event was new on the exhibition scene, the organisers had to deal with some scepticism. Exhibitors and motoring enthusiasts had to be persuaded to attend, while the media had to be convinced about its quality. Furthermore, it was essential to assure the target audience that the show would take place.

Objectives

To attract 50 exhibitors, 6,000 visitors and 20 local journalists.

Strategy and Plan

The PR team kicked off with a strategy to demonstrate solid evidence that the show was going to happen and that it would be a key event on the motoring calendar. Local media in Monaco were approached about the opening of the exhibition and were invited to interview the directors of Blenheim.

Big PR then moved the focus away from where the event was taking place to start to generate interest about the automobiles that were going to be exhibited. They put out information to the media that motor company Morgan was going to unveil a new car at the show.

The next stage involved holding meetings with the Monaco royal family to convince motor enthusiast Prince Albert to support Top Marques.

He eventually agreed to open the exhibition and to host a charity gala dinner during the event. Having the Grimaldis on board gave the show the kudos it needed to convince exhibitors and visitors that the show would go ahead.

The Daily Telegraph endorsed the event and provided extensive coverage before and throughout the exhibition. Partnerships were built with the Monaco Tourist Board and car magazine Evo. Invitations to apply for press accreditations were sent out early in the build-up to the event and interviews were organised with European journalists.

News of attending exhibitors was regularly emailed to a European-wide media database and posted on the event's website. European publications were also given the opportunity to give away free tickets.

Measurement and Evaluation

Between August 2003 and the end of April 2004, 98 articles appeared in print and online media. Publications from Europe, the US, South Africa and the Philippines carried stories about the exhibition, including The Sunday Times Magazine, Monaco Times and GQ. Websites, such as monitoring-uk.co.uk and autoindustry.co.uk, reported on the show.

Results

Top Marques Monaco exceeded its targets by attracting 57 exhibitors, 8,325 visitors and 167 journalists from across Europe, the Philippines and South Africa.

Mike Elisabeth, chairman of Trasos, a Dutch motor company that exhibited at the event, claims Big PR exceeded expectations in terms of the volume and quality of coverage generated for the firm and the event in high-profile motoring and lifestyle media across Europe.

Guy Loveridge, reporter on motor magazine Octane, says: 'While the promotion was not particularly aggressive, which was perhaps in line with Monaco's style, the Top Marques exhibition quickly came to be perceived by British journalists as a must-see event.'

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