Digital Signage And The 2013 Concours d'Elegance

Pebble Beach, Calif. --The 2013 Concours d’Elegance is not unlike any prior year’s version of Victoria Secret’s annual televised lingerie model show.

That’s because some of the best looking, best performing, and sexiest items in their categories are paraded across the stage, at near break-neck speed (for car after car being pushed by hand across the stage), commanding remarkable attention, and almost all you never hear from nor really ever see perform.

Yet, in the case of the 2013 Concours’ Gooding & Company Auction, held here Saturday evening, August 17, in a tent the size of a football field, these items also get sold, on the spot, for astronomical sums. (And I’m told most of the cars, when sold, never get driven, and rather just get stored as a form of investment that is expected to typically do better that anything Wall Street could legitimately do by comparison.)

As a first time attendee (and no, I was not looking to purchase any of these beauties…in fact, I made sure my best friend kept me from inadvertently scratching my ear, or otherwise having the auctioneer think I and my bid were ever in play), what really struck me as unusual from other large indoor get-togethers was how effective the telecom items were in conveying to and communicating with the audience of auction buyers. As such, these three giant TV sets above the raised stage allowed the audience of over 1,500 to better appreciate the cars up for sale, and thus inevitably better believe in their purchases. This, in turn brought much more money to the auctioneer, Gooding, and to its seller clients.

Great Digital Signage

As the accompanying photo shows, the cars are placed on a raised stand in the middle of the room, while the screens above depict live photos of the car on stage, the Gooding Logo, and the actual auction sales information while the auction is going on.  

Having written a 2007 book on digital signage  (opens in new tab)I was struck by how far this critical industry subsector has come in the five years since I last rather intensively looked. Yet also I was struck at how far it still needs to go – or at how far Gooding still needs to take it during their auctions.

Which Could Have Been Better…

That is because in the same way that the Gooding auctioneer pre-hyped the auction of the amazing grey McLaren that then sold for a stunning $7.8 million (by offering up an In-person on-stage interview with the car’s designer), Gooding still needed to go one professional step further to truly convey what the car was all about (and thus excel the final sales price).

What Gooding really needed was an additional large screen placed above the center screen (See the attached photo; there were three horizontal screens total above the stage).

This recommended additional large screen would then have shown a fairly long video loop of the car in
action, or of the car actually being designed, or built, or shown in different places or at different interior and exterior angles. This video view and story would then have better built the hype and better conveyed to the potential buyers why scratching their ears or raising their hands at the right moment was just the right thing to do.   

Do this, Gooding, and I promise you next year’s take will be at least ten percent higher, at minimum, for all!

Video Storytelling

In the end, it’s really pretty simple and yet, quite effective. Even bad video catches people’s attention. Yet great video that also tells a great story, i.e., that of the specific car on stage, can not only be effective, it can indeed be mesmerizing.

And mesmerizing done well not only sells, but it sells a better product or service. Just ask Google, which won the 2013 Clio Awards for advertising, or Coke, or Apple, or any of the other great video ad makers. Indeed, better still, just ask the 2013 Victoria Secret models (or if they are not permitted to talk, ask the show’s producers)!

Jimmy Schaeffler is a telecom author and chairman and CSO of the Carmel-by-the-Sea-based broadcast and pay TV consultancy, The Carmel Group.

Jimmy Schaeffler

Jimmy Schaeffler is chairman and CSO of The Carmel Group, a nearly three-decades-old west coast-based telecom and entertainment consultancy founded in 1995.