In just a few short days the annual rite of August, the Woodward Dream Cruise, will motor its way through nine host communities to the tune of 40,000 classic cars and a million people. Though Tanner Friedman chose, subsequent to the 2008 Cruise, not to continue as the Executive Director team, we are rooting for its success and remain in regular contact with its leadership, who remain our friends.
This morning, I read a Detroit Free Press Q&A with a longtime Cruise Board member whom I respect greatly. However, following on the heels of another story in which last year’s Dream Cruise logo was referred to as “too stylized,” today’s story also seems to write off the ’08 moniker, saying: “We’re back to a really cool logo (for 2009)”).
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion and, where art and design are involved, taste in emblems and logos is incredibly subjective. That said, last year’s logo, for better or for worse, was monumental—the first time an actual automotive designer had been commissioned for the artwork. It came with rave media reviews, in particular within the national automotive community (hit link to read a story from the influential Autoblog.com); key to helping us “extend” the Dream Cruise brand to potential sponsors outside of economically cash-strapped (even then) Detroit. Champion (STP) and Turtle Wax would later come aboard, helping to underwrite the event’s annual six-figure tab.
A prominent graphic design/branding firm also weighed in on the “what’s and why’s” at that time (link here) with a similar take. The new logo was emblematic of the overall evolution of the event last year. Did we sell more merchandise than in ’07? Numbers were comparable if not down slightly in a down economy. Still, we had the town talking and paying attention.
The Dream Cruise will always happen, regardless of logos or sponsor participation. Yet, take it from someone who has led three—all are interlinked and key to the success of the other. Brand awareness and extension lead to event underwriting; in turn assisting cash-strapped municipalities pay for the event while ensuring the Cruise remains free for its participants.