Our Automotive team are truly passionate about the motor industry and we work hard to keep a close eye on everything going on in a fast changing and evolving market.
Blogs, webinars and industry insights are great tools to stay ahead, but sometimes it pays to get out and really immerse ourselves in the great wide world of automotive. That’s why this weekend we hopped aboard the Clarity Funbus and headed down to Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016. Here are some of the team’s personal highlights from the show:
This was my first time at Goodwood and the first thing I was struck by (apart from the treacherously muddy journey into the site) was the sheer scale of the brand stands, that certainly aren’t given the justice they deserve being depicted as equally sized white tents on the festival map.
A short walk over the bridge that crosses the famous hill climb reveals a vast field of towering stands in all shapes, colours and sizes. Mercedes Benz’s offering was the first we explored, a typically clean and sleek white hanger dedicated to AMG, with a full size F1 replica decorating the wall, reminiscent of the Mercedes AMG interior that Clarity designed for their Head Office (read case study here).
Once into the thick of the show we took a short walk through a street of stands to explore each brand’s offering. Ford had built a three floor multi-story car park, with people jumping and flipping from the top...we'd arrived to see their parkour show. Tesla were showcasing their impressive new Model X, and BMW were celebrating their 100th year, articulating how they’re looking forward with ‘BMW vision next 100’ and showing a display model of the beautiful i8. Honda definitely wowed festival goers with a three level replica of the iconic Fisher Price Toy Garage.
My personal highlight from all of the brand’s at this year’s Goodwood was Jaguar Landrover’s mammoth stand. Divided in half between the two, around every corner was a new interactive experience, including VR tennis, racing simulators and my personal favourite…remote control versions of their popular models (one race track for Jags and one off-road circuit for Land Rovers). The stand was packed with hundreds of people engaged and excited by all of the toys, and seated above all of this was an entire hospitality floor for those lucky enough to own a Jaguar or Land Rover. As well as all of this, outside of the stand was a short circuit set up to display Land Rover’s off road credentials which allowed willing participants to queue up and join a driver for a trip around the track, cleverly providing another brand experience while at the same time running non-stop off-road demos of their models.
This year was my second visit to Goodwood, as the team’s resident petrol head this is a day I seriously enjoy! So for me it’s all about the cars and the atmosphere. You can be having lunch with your colleagues with the noise of anything from Formula 1 cars to vintage Fiats tearing up the hillclimb! Take a step closer to the track and you will be greeted by such a mix of vehicles flying past, including motorcycles and even the Red Arrows doing what they do best in the skies above.
This year also took me into the woods on the Honda off-road motorcycle experience. Fully kitted I climbed aboard the new Honda Africa Twin to ride around a field and through some woods. Navigating hay bales, trees, tree stumps and ruts, it was great fun! I’ve done very little off-road riding in my time as a biker and can really see the appeal of it and the excellent handling of the bike itself. It’s a great advert for the brand, bike and the official off-road school running the experience as well.
That’s one of the greatest aspects of Goodwood, that there is something to do for everyone (even a creche for the little ones). It’s like Lord March keeps a card up his sleeve for almost anything, even after a car made an over zealous drift up the hill, spending some time with the hay bales, runs up the hill were halted but a stunt display team pops out to keep the crowd entertained!
I was lucky enough to go to the Goodwood revival last year but the Festival of Speed is a different beast altogether. For a start there was no need for tweed, brogues or brill cream, but despite those drawbacks it has lots of other attractions. The Festival of Speed is part motor show, part racemeet, part drag race and all against the backdrop of Lord March’s beautiful 18th Century house and parkland.
One of the first things that interested me particularly wasn’t on one of the million pound show stands from the big manufacturers, but instead on the modest FIA stand. Like every F1 fan the world over I was deeply shocked by the death of Jules Bianchi in 2015, his untimely end reignited the debate about greater head protection and covered cockpits. So it was interesting to see the controversial ‘halo’ first hand.
As much as I want every driver to be safe, the halo looks clumsy, spoiling the sleek lines of the car and also obstructing the driver’s view. It’s a shame that RedBulls see through visor alternative was deemed not structurally strong enough, as it was a far less intrusive and more elegant solution. I think we will see the halo but I hope it’s quickly superseded by something better.
Another thing I really liked seeing was how far MINI, the BMW owned car maker, can stretch the brand. With the success of the larger countryman and rumours of a new electric mini mini similar to the Rocketman concept car - the answer seems to be quite far. Perhaps the most stunning example of how the brand are applying the DNA to new segments is the MINI Superlegge concept car, developed with the famous italian styling house. From the interest it was garnering on the stand I’d say it would sell like the proverbial hotcake, but apparently there’s no plan to take it to production - shame!
There’s so much I could talk about, the Festival of Speed is a sensory overload, I could have happily spent days just wandering around. I would recommend a visit to anyone - you don’t even need to be a car fan particularly, it’s a great spectacle anyway.
It was great to take the whole team to Goodwood this year - as a team who only work on Automotive projects with Automotive clients it’s great for us to keep in touch with everything happening in the market, being aware of how each brand presents itself and showcases new models. We work prominently on digital projects in the Automotive team so it's good to see some physical marketing in action and the use of digital in this type of environment (albeit there was less than I had expected). We know that the market hasn't found the attribution holy grail yet, being able to connect the offline and online worlds, but we were surprised to see very little use of interactive digital solutions built into the stands, maybe this is something for next year?