Did you know that the Woodward Dream Cruise—held the third Saturday in August each year—is the largest, one-day automotive event in the world? Apparently Madison Avenue, by and large the base of the PR firms and ad agencies that make event and sponsorship decisions for their major corporate clients, does not.
This was brought home once again by reporter Catherine Jun’s article this week in the Detroit News.
I experienced this disconnect loud and clear last November as I attended the SEMA aftermarket convention in November, while still serving as the event’s Executive Director. Two individuals, in town from New York, handling communications for the show for Michelin Tires, admitted, when asked, that they had never even heard of the Cruise.
It’s a shame—and not for lack of effort on behalf of event organizers. My team and I worked national and international media hard to spread the word on this special event to New York, LA and across the globe. Those efforts continue on a number of levels.
There is hope for the future. Earlier this year, Advertising Age (read by those Big Apple creative types!) named the Woodward Dream Cruise to their list of outstanding event sponsorship opportunities. Hey, 1.1 million people and 40,000 classic cars don’t lie and make a lot of noise. On Woodward Avenue’s 200th anniversary, wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone (read: major corporate sponsor) actually listened.