UNHAPPINESS over the mandatory space-and-media packages at last year's motor show has resulted in more flexibility for car distributors participating in this year's event.
The four-day Singapore Motorshow 2016 starting tomorrow is the second consecutive instalment of the local automotive event which dealers are riding on to generate sales as the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) quota continues to expand steadily.
The show is organised by the Motor Traders Association of Singapore, a grouping of mainly authorised distributors. It returned in 2015 after rapidly contracting quotas resulted in a hiatus of over six years.
Like this year, last January's event was also held at Suntec City over four days but back then, booth space was bundled together with a media package from MediaCorp, which is the co-organiser of the show.
Participants had to take up a standard S$48,800 package consisting of so-called raw space plus media exposure in the form of radio and print advertisements.
This had led to unhappiness among some dealers, who felt they were being forced to advertise only on MediaCorp platforms.
Meanwhile, others complained about the tight advertising schedule allocated, where ads could be run only one month prior to the show and in the month after.
"The airtime was restricted and all the brands were lumped into the same slots," said the marketing manager of a mid-sized dealership. "The scheduling was very messy. After a while, we didn't know who we were listening to."
Then there was the issue of whether the platforms were appropriate or not. For example, the sales director of a luxury marque said MediaCorp's free tabloid paper was not suitable for his print ads.
"That particular medium isn't exactly mainstream, so it wasn't applicable for a premium brand like ours," he explained. "In the end, we couldn't find any use for the package."
Following the dissatisfaction, this year's motor show's terms and packages offer more choices. The standard package is still available and the rate is unchanged. But raw space alone can now be rented at S$30,000 for 200 square metres.
There are also three media options, including a new one offering TV and online ads.
One sales manager revealed that his company has opted to stay with the standard space-and-media package at the same price as last year.
"This year, we were allowed to buy the raw space without the media component," he said. "But we still bought the whole package as it is more worth it."
But one marketing manager did not. He said: "We went for the raw space only as the media package is priced at more or less the same as the usual rack rates."
The managing director of a popular make had a different reason for not taking up the media package.
He reasoned that since the show itself is already going to be advertised heavily by the organisers, he did not need to put out his own ads on a MediaCorp platform.
"If I do that before and during the show, the message may be lost because of over-saturation," he explained. "But even if I wanted to advertise after the show, it would be difficult because of the time limit."