No long queues.
No registration stall.
Lamborghinis placed outside the venue. One night before.
Sullen faces. Bored workers.
Indifferent ushers. Hell, even the beauty factor has gone many notches down since the last show I attended.
You had these curvaceous vixens manning the stalls. Most were drop dead gorgeous.
Now most of the brand ambassadors seem to have been picked up from a sleazy nightclub offering bulk discount on call girls.
Or from a university which force feeds carbs to its female students to turn them into cows.
Maybe the Dubai Motor Show organizers had a crystal ball, that they knew beforehand that they won’t be getting the type of footfall they’re used to having. And cut their losses in advance.
Which is strange considering the fact that the Dubai Motor Show takes place just once in two years. You would have thought an event so rare would have people flocking to it in droves.
And this raises a question of why keeping it go on for five long days when past shows have done very well on 3 days.
Yes, you had the media hype. Yes, you’ve got all these gungho car brands doing the show. And a robot from Japan.
But then you’ve these factors at pretty much all the exhibitions and events. You throw the media some bread crumbs and they’ll come running towards you. Never the yardstick for a show’s success.
Being a marketer myself, I’ve always chosen and done those brand activations where my own brand has the most limelight. I always seek to dominate and decimate the competition.
The fundamental flaw in Dubai Motor Show 2019 is that this is not the only event happening at the Dubai Trade Centre. There’s this jewellery show and some optical show.
Logistical problems aside, the perception this creates is that the organizers of Dubai Motor Show didn’t have enough Moolah to purchase the entire venue. Or they didn’t have enough sponsors and cars to utilize the entire space.
And when visitors, trade or otherwise, compare this with Dubai Motor Show 2017 which completely dominated the entire World Trade Centre, this show pales in comparison.
Now coming to the visitor’s perspective, there was all sorts of confusion as to when the show would start, in which halls the show was actually being held, and the biggest of them all, where to buy the tickets.
In Dubai Motor Show 2017, the registration stall was smack in the middle of the outside area and was pretty much organized. You didn’t need directions to get there.
This time around the visitor registration was in Sheikh Makhtoum Hall 3 – who the hell knows where that is – and the media registration and badge collection was 500 metres away near Hall 2.
And if that wasn’t enough, the registration wasn’t supposed to start until 12pm on the event day. Which got delayed till 1pm because the ‘VIPs’ were inside the hall and the registration booth too was inside!
Talk about things being in disarray.
Dubai Motor Show organizers needed an architect with a background in consumer branding so that he could help them design spaces keeping in mind the visitor convenience.
The only thing that actually started on time and went without a hitch was the Drift taxi in the outside area. That attracted the most crowd.
I know I might be jumping the gun and five days down the road this show might well turn into a stellar success that the organizers intended.
But my 12 years of experience as a brand strategist tells me that something is amiss, and the Dubai Motor Show people need a brand consultant, someone who can do an extended soul-searching, identify the weak areas, and then build upon the success of the last show instead of starting from scratch. Or maybe the converse would be true.
In any case they need someone who can take a step back and look at things from a different perspective.
Here are my recommendations based on just Day 1 observations:
- Keep the show to just 3 days and fill them up with different activities instead of repeating the same thing over and over.
- Hire a brand architect to design the flow of things keeping consumer convenience in mind.
- Hire a brand strategist who can work with them to identify the gaps in the system and offer pragmatic solutions.
This pretty much sums up my Day 1