One of the perks of being media is you get treated really well by companies wanting exposure for their products. These perks range from a free T shirt to all expense paid trips to exotic places. The perks one enjoys in the technology sector are quite nice. Like most media channels, I get full access to trade shows without having to pay for admission.
This coming Thursday I will be attending the SOHO SME Expo at the Canada Trade & Convention Centre. A VIP pass for this all-day event cost $139.00 and includes access to the trade show, keynotes, roundtables and the evening gala reception. Being the cheap bastard that I am, I decided to flex my media muscles instead of reaching for the Visa card. An Email fired off to the PR rep for SOHO landed me three free VIP passes. Of course, SOHO doesn’t give out VIP passes for free out of the goodness of their hearts. They do expect me to cover the show and write about it.
Over the years, I have discovered that there are different treatments for different levels of media. Of all the media out there, I have the say the top of the hill belongs to the automotive media. The treatment these people get just boggles the mind. For example, when Dodge launched their last Viper coupe, they flew the automotive press to France to drive the car along the French countryside. Not to be outdone, GM flew the press to Germany so they can try out the 198MPH top speed of the new Corvette Z06 on the famous autobahn and Nürburgring track. When Acura did their press introduction of the 2007 MDX last month, they arranged for squadrons of helicopters to fly journalists to BeaveRun racetrack in Pennsylvania and then let them loose on the track along side a selection of competitive vehicles.
The only automotive press event I’ve ever attended was the North American unveiling of the then new Mercedes Benz SL500. The event was humble by automotive standards. That might explain why the big boys like Car & Driver and Motor Trend did not attend. Still, Mercedes put on a good enough show that it would rank right up there with the best technology press events. Mercedes converted a big parking lot into a track and then gave us the keys to the entire Mercedes Benz line up. This is a video of our drive in the SL500.
I think I need to start an automotive site.