On the move

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A number of high profile brands are preparing to take their message on the road. Stand Out looks at their use of mobile trailers and event units…

Vodafone is hitting the UK festival market this summer with two branded trailers, providing mobile phone recharging facilities to its customers. The recharge units, reportedly being built by Global V-Tech in Peterborough, will ensure Vodafone customers stay mobile and connected during live music events. Indeed, the telecoms giant is not selling a service or product yet it’s an equally important brand building and awareness exercise that appear to be gaining in frequency now that green shoots are appearing in the economy.

Similarly, Drambuie is touring the festivals this summer with a branded bus and Charlie’s Drambuie Nail Bar. It will visit a number of events and festivals such as Lovebox, Rockness, The Big Chill, Global Gathering and Bestival to serve a range of Drambuie Nail Cocktails to a new audience. Last year, over 32,000 people tried the spirit for the first time, and it aims for 100,000 in 2011. The bus helps to move the brand forward, literally.

But some trailer providers argue that 2011 will not be as “memorable” as 2012. And there is a distinct lack of shows such as SED, DVD and Hillhead, which would normally be brimming with exhibition units. According to Jim Copeland, Showmobile’s managing director, it’s been a quiet start to the year, brands are still booking “lastminute.com” but agriculture is experiencing a boom, and as a result it’s driving growth and marketing spend.

David Wilson, managing director of David Wilson’s Trailers (DWT) shares Copeland’s view – agriculture is a strong sector and IT remains interesting. But is the demise of outdoor trade shows making it harder for brands to shout their messages and target their core audience?

Wilson explains: “Some shows are discontinued but what you find is a change of emphasis. The active ones are developing and there are new shows appearing in the market. SED and DVD are simply being replaced by alternatives so demand is being filled but it’s just a change of organiser. Brands are present at other shows that weren’t on their radar before and so the market is evolving to the pressures of the time.”

Wilson argues that brands are spending but budgets are tighter, hence there is a specific requirement for proving return on investment. End users are looking to establish value for money but with traditional exhibitors remaining convinced it’s the right way of getting to people.

The fashion, agriculture and IT sectors are busy, says Wilson.

“We have a moving target,” he continues. “The market has always changed and progressed but now it changes a bit more radically.”

DWT is currently working with Perkins Engines, which is based in Peterborough – an exhibition trailer is currently visiting distributors across Finland, Budapest and Sweden, showcasing a revolutionary high-tech diesel engine to dealerships. The trailer is an economic way of getting Perkins’ message across. And DWT is also hoping to deliver two new project for Government organisations that will use mobile trailers as training units and resource delivery in a bid to cut static venue costs – another example, adds Wilson, of how the market is moving to where the investment is being made by the end user.

Allan Plant, managing director of Mobex, is optimistic for 2011, having just completed a major roadshow for NHS London.

He says: “Order intake is significantly higher this year compared to last, both on the hire fleet and in our trailer

manufacturing the private sector has come back strongly, whereas the public sector is coming to terms with market sector changes. The loss of SED and DVD has had an initial impact on our trailer hire but we have been working hard to improve our direct marketing with some success.

“We have endeavoured to widen our client base and have had major gains with The National Trust, National Flood Forum, CGS Tyres (Mitas/Continental), and we continue to work very closely
with our recently appointed Nigerian distributor. We continue to work with a diverse range of regular clients across equally diverse markets including Manitou UK, Countrywide Farmers, NHS and many others.”

New levels of interest

Showplace, based in Stratford upon Avon, is celebrating a raft of new business and development wins. Milwaukee has signed a five-year deal for the design, build and management of a new artic roadshow trailer. Building on the success of the present trailer programme and the strength of uptake in the European market for its product, Milwaukee has invested in a brand new type of trailer that has never been built in the UK before. The trailer will open up at a lower height – visitors will have just two steps to climb to enter the unit, which will then open 180 degrees.

Will Stuart, director of sales and marketing, Showplace, suggests that trailer height creates a resistance – people dread walking up four or five steps to enter a unit for fear of then being trapped in an environment by a perhaps pushy sales person.

Stuart says that Showplace is experiencing strong growth with sales, orders and enquiries 100 per cent up on this time last year. Speedo, part of the Pentland Group, is pushing ahead with Olympic plans. Showplace will design and manage an experiential roadshow for the brand, beginning in September that will form part of its Olympic marketing strategy.

Relevant investment

Mobile Promotions has worked with Iveco, the international manufacturer and supplier of commercial vehicles, supporting the company with the activation of its live events and face-to-face marketing strategy for some 20 years.

Following a competitive pitch the company has won the contract to update its event trailer fleet and operations over the next three years with a series of focused events in 2011, 2012 and 2013. As well as managing the operations and logistics behind the live events strategy, Mobile Promotions will advise on the design of the new unit, expected to replace the current expandable trailer, which has shown great service for some time.

Nigel Emms, director of brand and communications, Iveco, explains: “We use exhibition trailers for three principle areas – company exhibitions and events, dealer support and to support sponsorship activity. We have two trailers, a 13-metre mega rig with extendable pods and a seven-metre trailer for smaller events. All of our exhibition kit is designed to work at several levels and Mobile Promotions manage that for us.”

Iveco is set to attend a number of shows this summer. Most notably, Truckfest, which takes place in May at Peterborough. It will then visit Truckfest events in Bristol and Scotland as well as Saltex. Dealer events will also take place throughout the summer months, but there are no plans for any roadshow activity in 2011.

Emms explains: “The last big roadshow we did was in 2008. We toured horse racing facilities, had a morning session
of presentations, lunch and then we entertained guests at the races. We have no plans for a roadshow this year but we have several new product lines coming through in 2012 so it’s a possibility for next year.

“Brands need to assume the minimum life of a trailer is 10 years – divide the cost of a trailer by the number of years and the number of shows and then they become a valuable and cost effective proposition.

“It’s important for us to have kit that we know so that we can decide to do events as and when but always present the brand correctly. Investment in trailers is very good if used right,” Emms continues. “This year we are looking to exhibit at more specific shows, which tend to be outdoor. There is now only one relevant indoor show and that’s the Commercial Vehicle Show (CVS) at the NEC.

“As a manufacturer, we’ve decided not to participate. The market is hard pressed and the investment for a three-day show could not be justified. We’d rather spread the cost round a number of other activities. That’s not to say we won’t be looking at the event for next year. We’re supporting the event with the dealer in that area so there’s not a lack of interest in the show but a lack of sales in the marketplace.”

Heart of the matter

Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) has again been contracted to manage the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF’s) award – winning Heart Health campaign for another 12 months.

EMS has managed the charity’s national roadshow since 2009. BHF strategically targets UK regions most at risk of heart disease and is currently halfway through a tour of the West Midlands. It will hit Northern Ireland for three months on May 9, engaging with members of the public who might not normally visit their GP, by visiting busy retail locations and the workplaces of major employers. On-going research by BHF will then pinpoint the next priority regions to add to the tour, which EMS will manage until April 2012.

To date 46,022 people most at risk of developing cardiovascular disease have had direct contact with the roadshow campaign. Of those, 21,690 have completed an on-board lifestyle check with a BHF heart health adviser and 61 per cent of those receiving checks have joined BHF’s Heart Matters.

Deborah Auty, BHF project manager, concludes: “We want our roadshow to reach right into the heart of at-risk regions and catch as many people as possible before they realise they have a problem. Our evaluation of the campaign is that the interventions we are delivering on board the unit are having an impact.”