Showcase: Roadshows - Advice

Three industry experts talk about getting a show on the road.

THE SUPPLIER - DAVID WILSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, DAVID WILSON'S TRAILERS

"Clients are requesting high visual impact along with accessibility - those targeting the public usually need access ramps. For this reason, trailers are getting smaller and lower to the ground, with shorter ramps. However, lifts are available for larger vehicles.

Many of our tow vehicles now meet the London low-emission requirements. But careful planning of routes means less zigzagging across the UK and therefore less fuel consumption.

When hiring roadshow trailers provide an accurate brief of your goals, target audience, key location and venue types - we can then advise on the best style of trailer. Graphics are important too: they can transform a white box into a fantastic sales tool.

Power supply is a crucial part of any roadshow. Power requirements determine the size of generator, and that can affect the budget. Think about the length of each day's event, which will affect fuel consumption and cost. Roadshow vehicles also need graphics that can be read clearly when in 'show mode'.

When budgets are tight, it's tempting to think the exhibition operator can double as a promotional person. But very careful attention needs to be paid to the Working Time Directive. For example, a driver can only work a 48-hour week with suitable rest periods."

THE MARKETER - NEIL ROBINSON, OLYMPIC OPPORTUNITIES COMMUNICATION MANAGER, LONDON DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

"The Get Set roadshow, which ran from 9 January to 29 March this year, allowed us to promote the benefits of London 2012 in 30 locations all over London, in a fun and entertaining way. Roadshows are multi-layered events, which create a profile that can't always be generated through other media such as print. That's their edge.

Tailoring mobile promotions is very important because different locations mean different audiences, and therefore different messages.

Keep the message simple, positive and uplifting; it's about giving top-line information. And be brave - you won't be remembered unless you take risks. Make it as interactive as possible. Get Set features giveaway DVDs, leaflets, talent competitions, touchscreens and live entertainment.

Our roadshow has a life beyond April. We are looking at how it can be refined to reach local community levels, which could mean going into community centres. The key is adaptability: design with the intention of refining at a later stage.

We source suppliers through the Central Office of Information, which maintains a panel of pre-selected agencies and specialists. From this we drew up a shortlist and called in agencies to make presentations based on the roadshow brief."

THE AGENCY - ROBIN CARLISLE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, MOBILE PROMOTIONS

"Clients are now more focused and more adventurous. And as agencies and brands start to believe in live marketing, we are seeing more creativity. People want to hit a wider audience in less time, and trailers are being designed for fast turnaround.

But it's not just about trailer units and structures. People are increasingly interested in satellite distribution and sampling stations, exploring what can be done outside of traditional field marketing equipment.

We operate vehicles with the latest Euro-emissions engines, from companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Iveco. We also use recycled and re-usable materials, for example flooring systems and lighting, and produce all-over colour schemes using water-based, environmentally favourable paints.

Think a brief through first. Use a sketch pad to plot very rough layouts. Don't be afraid to admit inexperience and take advice from companies with a solid heritage and masses of experience. Don't just try and guess it.

Choice of vehicles is important - will it fit in the space on site, stand out in the surroundings and fit the budget? Traffic is always a consideration. For example, will access points be available when needed and will roads be congested? Weather is another issue as it affects movements and people performance.

To avoid pitfalls you need to plan, plan, plan. The best way to deal with the unexpected is to have a plan B and C - and a contingency."


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