Pumping Up Consumer Excitement

SEMA News—March 2015

CHRIS KERSTING

Pumping Up Consumer Excitement

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO The first-ever SEMA Ignited event may have looked like a great party and car show, but Ignited was actually much more than that. The event was a way to show off the incredible cars, trucks and specialty equipment that our industry brings to the SEMA Show. It was also a means to interact with consumers, both on-site and through the media. The immediate social-media coverage was awesome, and now we have the longer-lead media pieces coming to fruition.

One important consumer-facing program is set to debut March 8—the one-hour, SEMA-sponsored Velocity Channel special called “SEMA Battle of the Builders.”

The show will provide an insider’s look at how our industry’s automotive designers and craftsmen create their astounding one-of-a-kind vehicles, revealing some of the magic that happens behind the industry-only curtain of the SEMA Show. We know that it will fire up gearheads, but we aim to also give ideas to the peripheral enthusiasts who have not yet gotten inspired to modify their cars.

You’ll see highlights of the inaugural SEMA Ignited event in this issue, and you’ll learn how the Battle of the Builders competition and TV special came about. We’ve seen a sneak-peak of the TV program already, and we think that it’s a good example of how the vehicles and products of the SEMA Show help bring car culture to more of the public in an exciting way. And that will be good for everyone.

We would like to extend our thanks to the 129 vehicle builders who entered 165 vehicles in this trailblazing competition. The contest resulted in tremendous social-media attention, and SEMA is pleased to shine a new spotlight on the efforts of our industry’s talented designers and craftsmen, many of whom have been largely unsung. We plan to amplify these efforts in 2015.

The Battle of the Builders is a centerpiece of content that people will watch, but it was also great to see how many SEMA exhibitors and attendees decided to extend their SEMA Show involvement to take advantage of the first SEMA Ignited event.

Plans for 2015 are already in the works, starting with gathering and reviewing your feedback on these new events. Rest assured that our top priority is to eliminate the traffic problems experienced in the inaugural event! The front-running solution is to bring the SEMA Ignited event to a great site in close proximity to the Convention Center. We’re working on that now.

If you’ve provided feedback on the Ignited event via our recent survey, thank you for your help. If you did not, feel free to send me your thoughts directly at chrisk@sema.org. Your input will help us improve the event and build on something that had tremendous industry participation in its inaugural year.

If you are considering getting involved in SEMA Ignited for 2015, there are several ways SEMA Show exhibitors can gain the benefits of additional media and consumer exposure. If you’re having a vehicle built or are a builder, enter the vehicle in the Battle of the Builders competition. It’s a great way to get recognition for yourself, your company and your products. We will be loading the web-based signup sheet on www.sema.org in the very near future!

Exhibitors should also make plans to join us Friday night of the 2015 SEMA Show and put your booth vehicle in the SEMA Cruise and the SEMA Ignited events. You’ve already made a substantial investment in getting your vehicle to the Show. By taking one more step, you can use it to wow a broad media and consumer audience.

A third way to participate is to have a rig or booth at the SEMA Ignited midway. This is an opportunity to promote your product line, do a little direct retail business, get ideas about new products and get feedback about your brand. Because it falls directly on the heels of the SEMA Show, Ignited is a very efficient opportunity to expose your business to consumers.

We’re excited to offer these new opportunities for SEMA Show participants to gain greater media and consumer exposure while in Las Vegas. And we hope you’ll tune in March 8, for the premier of “SEMA Battle of the Builders.” It will air at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Discovery’s Velocity Network. Even more important as you complete your schedule for the 2015 SEMA Show, we hope that you’ll build in a plan to join us for Friday night’s SEMA Ignited, the sequel.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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