Part manufacturers and retailers know that donating parts to a show vehicle can be a great source of free media coverage. A project car can be written up in magazines or on websites, generating the car’s sponsors a lot of free publicity in the process.
Of course, a show car can only provide publicity to a part manufacturer or retailer if people know your parts are on the car. The solution? Signage.
Show car signage has simple, obvious benefits:
- Consumers who view the show car will see what brands/parts/websites have made contributions
- Signage makes it easier for members of the automotive media to “write up” the car
- Professional signage gives a show vehicle an air of quality and exclusivity
Here’s more detail about each of these benefits.
As far as consumers are concerned, a list of show car parts and modifications is authoritative and trustworthy. This offers a lot of benefits:
- If a show car uses a wiring harness from Hot Rod Wires, for example, consumers consider that use an endorsement and will seek out the brand next time they buy a wire harness (or whatever we’re talking about).
- If the consumer sees parts from well-known brands like Flowmaster and K&N alongside brands they’ve never heard of, the lesser-known brands gain from affiliation.
- Consumers also look to these lists of mods and parts for inspiration. If a show car uses an LED light bar in an unconventional way, that can be inspiration for the consumer to do something similar on their own vehicle.
Finally, at most car shows, consumers tend to read signs pretty closely. It’s a great tool for getting out a marketing message.
Automotive news and media outlets, bloggers, forum owners, and even Facebook page/community managers know that show cars are good content. But doing a “write up” of a show car isn’t always easy.
If you’re a member of the media trying to write an article about a show car:
- You’ve got to get photos of the car, which is hard with a crowd of people walking around
- You’ve got to figure out the vehicle’s specs – what engine, what transmission, etc.
- You’ve got to figure out what’s been done to the car, what’s interesting about it beyond the looks, etc.
Most of the time, a member of the media will ask people standing next to the car if they can answer these questions.
But if the show is busy, the car’s owner might already be talking to someone else. Or maybe the car owner is nowhere to be found, having decided to grab a bite to eat. Or maybe the car owner is sick and tired and answering questions, and has decided to stand 40 feet away.
Whatever the case, a sign makes a media person’s job much easier. All the info they need is on the sign.
What About Outdoor Shows?
A simple ‘board’ type sign can be hard to use at outdoor shows due to wind and weather. If you want all-weather signage, you have a couple of options:
- Print up a few hundred double-sided color postcards with the vehicle information, then keep them on the dash, under the wiper blades, in the driver’s seat (a box in the driver’s seat will keep people from sitting there), etc.
- Invest in an outdoor quality sign – ShowCarSign.com has a ‘Concours’ type sign that’s perfect (and surprisingly affordable), as does BP-Art-Design.com.
Either way, signage is important.
The Key To Good Signage
If you want media and members of the public to read your sign, you need to provide some good images as well as lots of details. Some suggestions:
- Provide a couple of ‘before’ pictures on the sign, and make them large enough to be useful to a photographer (eg, a photographer should be able to take a picture of the ‘before’ picture on your sign and end up with something useful).
- Provide the basic facts/attributes of the car (year, make, model, trim, engine, etc.).
- List the modifications that have been made, and make an effort to list everything. The more details, the more likely a member of the media will find something to write about.
- If a part or service was donated, the donor should be listed next to the part/modification.
- Sub-headings should be used to group modifications and customization by type, with “Engine” or “Performance” mods in one section, “Interior” in another, etc.
- Try to write a brief note about how the car was acquired, the car’s history, etc. 3-5 sentences is really all you need.
- Along the bottom of the sign, try and include logos from all the sponsors (or at least the major sponsors) in addition to listing them above.
- Last but not least, provide a link to either a website about the car or a Facebook page dedicated to the car.
Remember: The sign is going to be studied in person and up-close, so it’s OK to use a smaller font for the details. People who really care (like members of the media) don’t mind getting up close with the sign, and a smaller font makes it easier to include all the info.
Show Judges Like Signs Too
An attractive and informative car show sign attracts the attention of judges. Judges, like everyone else, appreciate easy access to the car’s details. A well-informed judge is more likely to vote for that car, and, let’s face it, a winner gets even more media coverage.
Every Sponsored Show Car Needs A Sign
Putting a sign listing parts and modifications next to a show car is sort of obvious. And yet, most sponsored show cars don’t have signs. The challenge is that sponsors often don’t think to require signage, and/or that show car owners aren’t always prepared to show.
Still, these are excuses. If your company is sponsoring a show car, now is the time to get a sign made.