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Geneva fallout: brands get creative in the face of adversity

March 3, 2020

When it comes to making the most of situations that are out of your hands, as last week’s cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show has shown, it comes down to creativity and planning.

A great example of this is Morgan Motor Company. The British sports car manufacturer was certainly not one of the biggest companies due to appear at the show but has been one of the most creative since the news of the cancellation broke. Morgan’s yet-to-be-unveiled show car had been taken all the way to Geneva before the news was announced. So what now for the Malvern-based car company?

Of course, stakeholders have been supportive of the situation as a starting point, following which many manufacturers took the option to head back to HQ and set up a car launch live stream. More on live streams in a moment….

Morgan though took a slightly different approach. They grasped the opportunity to take fans back to Malvern with them via Twitter. Posting regular updates along their 1000-mile journey from Switzerland, with videos taken from a bonnet mounted camera and photos from tourist spots they visited along the way.

It was a fantastic way to tease out the new car, but not showing it in full, whilst showcasing its performance in a real-world test. This not only generated interest in the digital launch but would also have saved them thousands in advertising and PR costs.

The effect this will have, and, this is pertinent to live streams generally, is that it will have generated significant interest in the digital launch. Setting up a live stream is the easy part, it’s getting it in front of the right people at the right time where the challenge lies. That is an issue many such launches face, and those who have planned well, despite the exceptional circumstances, will have taken this into account. Quick hint: this is another area where the integrated paid, earned, shared, owned PESO communication model comes into its own.

As we wrote previously and Matt Prior of Autocar wrote here last week, this does raise questions with regard to how long manufacturers will continue to pay hundreds of thousands if not millions to attend these events to launch cars. Particularly as they fund the transition to alternative propulsion systems. Indeed, names such as Lamborghini had already decided not to launch new models at the show long before it was cancelled.

If, after all that, you were wondering what happened to this year’s European Car of the Year, it still went ahead, albeit behind closed doors. The Peugeot 208 came out on top with the studio announcement and a much-reduced audience.  

With over 20 years’ experience in automotive, we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to discuss how we can help your brand stand out in the virtual and real worlds at hello@sqn.agency


We are excited to announce that Sine Qua Non (SQN) has joined rEvolution, bringing SQN’s technology and communications prowess to rEvolution, the global, integrated sports marketing agency. Together, we will continue to grow as one team to deliver best-in-class integrated marketing services for our clients.

We put people first, challenge personal effectiveness, and act as change agents on a unified team. We share these values now and moving forward. In this next chapter we will scale our skillsets and expertise together to make an increasingly significant impact in the industry.

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This is an exciting time for everyone on our collective team, and we look forward to continuing our work with you.

John Rowady
CEO & Founder, rEvolution

Claire Ritchie
CEO & Founder, SQN

Chris Ritchie
Director & COO, SQN