Peugeot drives confidence

The car giant struck an upbeat tone at its Birmingham conference

Peugeot in Birmingham
Peugeot in Birmingham

Client: Peugeot
Event: Conference
Group size: 700
Agency: DHL Inside Track
Date: 15 December 2008
Venue: ICC Birmingham
Budget: Undisclosed

The brief Peugeot holds a conference for UK-based dealer group heads, dealer principals and employees at the ICC Birmingham every December. The event provides a platform for the automotive giant to update both staff and dealers on the previous year, communicate strategies for the year ahead and reveal new products. Agency DHL Inside Track was briefed to handle the entire event, from invitations to content and production.

Challenges: For Peugeot's dealer events and incentives manager Louise Aherne, the biggest challenge was having a realistic discussion about the tough economic conditions while trying to motivate dealers for the year ahead. "The whole automotive industry is going through a bad time, and it was a very difficult year for the dealer network, so we knew we couldn't gloss over that," she says. "But we've also got a lot to be excited about for 2009 and the best way to get that across was through some kind of show."

Solution: Peugeot surprised delegates by revealing not one but three new cars at the conference. "It was one of the most ambitious reveals we have done in a long time," says Aherne.

DHL Inside Track event director Vicki Gentle says: "We talked to the team at the ICC and they said no-one had dropped a car from the roof before, and no-one had used ramps, so we did both." For the reveal of the 308CC, a Cirque du Soleil performer did an aerial silk performance, and then the car descended from the roof. A skateboard-style ramp was built for the reveal of the 3008, while the reveal of the 308RCZ was accompanied by fire cannons. "Meeting health and safety regulations was quite a challenge but we used trusted partners for the build and rigging and rehearsed over and over again to make sure everything was robust," adds Gentle.

Execution: Chauffeurs were organised to collect delegates that were flying in, while coaches ferried employees over to the venue from Peugeot's Coventry base and local dealers made their own way to the ICC.

DHL Inside Track filmed some of the dealers before the event on their views on the current market challenges. This was shown at the start of the conference.

The morning session for both dealers and employees kicked off just after 11am. Chaired by BBC presenter Kate Silverton, it featured presentations from Peugeot UK managing director Pierre Louis Colin and other company directors, on topics from quality and service to sales and marketing. This was followed by the reveal of the three new cars and then lunch, which was accompanied by entertainment from female string quartet Siren.

After lunch, the dealers departed, with employees staying on for another one-hour session on the year ahead, which included a presentation by the chief executive of the Peugeot-owned Robins & Day dealership. This finished at 4pm and coaches transferred delegates back to Coventry.

Verdict: "The reveal was exactly what we wanted," says Aherne. "Having had to tackle such difficult subjects, we needed something positive so the dealers would leave with a buzz for the year ahead, so in that respect it was perfect. We surveyed a sample of dealers afterwards and 91 per cent said the meeting was the same or better than they expected."

 

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