Wired PR Works by Barbara Rozgonyi

Real-izing Your Virtual Identity

Jaguar Cars C-XF| Architectural Digest | Low-key PR for a Racy Car in Chicago

Posted by barbararozgonyi on January 18, 2007

Barbara Rozgonyi in Jaguar Concept Car

View my Jaguar Concept Car Photos

The invitation, an elegant but simple postcard, arrived 5 days before the event. Who knows how I got on the list? Perhaps subscribing to Jaguar’s ezine and Architectural Digest’s magazine got my label on their card. And, an email invitation to an old address surfaced in a once-weekly check. Yeah, they found me and they got me. Jaguar knows the way to this girl’s heart. 

In college, I was the only young women at LAR to post posters of cars  – not hunky guys or sappy quotes – on the walls. And when one of my dates apologized for being late because he was polishing his Corvette’s exhaust system, I completely understood. In fact, this summer I bribed my kids with ice cream and then walked them through a vintage car show. That’s after I queried Jim Leman, the Daily Herald’s vintage auto writer, to write feature a story in answer to my boy’s question about cars, based on their Hot Wheels. Nice job, Jim!

And, over Christmas break I spent most of one day motoring around Indy in my brother’s Jag. But, sad to say, we have a minivan in our garage. Although, as my middle son boasts to his friends, “It’s a pimped out minivan.” Leather seats, a DVD player, awesome surround sound, auto door, a sun roof and a towing package make this a super deluxe suburban transport system.

Still, I’ve always wanted a Jaguar and have admired the beauties from afar. So when I was on “the list” to check out this sexy concept car the same night it debuted in North America at the Detroit Auto Show, I grabbed my best date, dressed in black, smeared on my Smashbox eyeliner, slung on my Chanel purse and headed out on the Eisenhower to the Chicago Illuminating Company.

Setting all the car stuff aside, I did have my purely professional reasons for going – of course. Our company, CoryWest Media, often manages events in collaboration with magazines like Chicago Home and Garden and West Suburban Living. While we don’t display cool cars like this one, we show off amazing kitchens you can only find at showrooms like Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio.

How would I rank this event in comparison? Well, there is no comparison . . . only the couple of hundred or so people in the U.S. got to sit in that car in Chicago on that night.

But, beyond the car, here’s my review:

– Invitations – cool graphics, could’ve arrived earlier

– RSVP – to a system after-hours, include an email next time or a site with RSVP capture qualities directly into the database, a confirmation call adds a personal touch

– Follow up, none as of yet, “It’ll be interesting to see if a Jaguar dealer calls you,” said my husband who at first feared being confronted by a car dealer at the party. “You know they really could all everyone within a week or so.”  If he’s thinking, they ought to be thinking – and calling.

– Reception – we checked in first to an engagement party. After hanging up our coats, looking around and seeing that everyone else but us knew the cute couple in the slide show, we put our coats back on and went back outside only to find that our entrance was down an alley-like walkway. Signage helps. An event guide who greets you and discreetly determines interest could warm up guests and then hand them off to someone else to answer their questions or continue to qualify their interest. Is this too sales-y at an event like this? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on the guest.

– Signage – none. at all. Simple banners brand a big room.

– Food – the pannini lollipops were a bit over the top, but tasty

– Drinks – superb

– Cute British guys – a couple

– Conversation – no interaction except with the bartender

– Company representation – who’s with who? when we work with major design magazines, we promote the editors’s appearance in the invitation and if the event includes a product of any kind, we make sure the reps are ID’d and friendly

– Running the engine – while revving the engine indoors was cool [and I was the one leading the applause], the air was tinged with exhaust fumes for the rest of the time we were there

– Giveaways – Jaguar brochure and a Bowers & Wilkins DVD/book , how about a Jaguar something with a test drive – let me know where those dealers are! Every publication we work with gives away at least a complimentary six-month subscription.

– Takeaways – lots of fun images and the cool factor that won’t rub off soon – who else out there covered this party on their blog? I’m guessing nobody. We love exclusives.

– Wow factor – “How’d you get on that list?” “Who likes cars – you or your husband?” were two of the questions I got. Attending this party was an experience no one else – I know – experienced. On a PR scale of 1 to 10, I’d give this one an 8. You had to be there to be there – and isn’t that what driving a Jaguar is all about?

Work for Jaguar or Architectural Digest and you’re reading this? Welcome and thank you so much for making my month!!!
Here’s how to reach me if you want more feedback – or a party planner for the next one: 630.942.9542.

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