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Event 19: Seoul Motor Show…with lights, camera and vroooooom


Seoul Motor Show…

I literally had saw last year that the Seoul Motor Show was on so I booked 3 days to make sure I could experience this 10 day motor show experience…and I am glad I did. 

What was the event?

Seoul Motor Show a 10 day event with all the biggest car manufacturers and exhibitors under one roof in Seoul between the 29th of March and 7th April. Also, the 4th largest motor show in Asia…so you can imagine the size and the amount of people! 

What happened at the event? 

Firstly, this event could easily be a book. It was enthralling and very enjoyable to immerse in the experience which I don’t think I will be able to explain in 1000 words – but enjoy the photos and the story of something quite spectacular. 

After walking from the train station and hoping I was going the right direction I was met with Kintex the Seoul Convention centre. It was a massive area, 13km from the city – near the airport (which seems to be a common theme – convention centres have been built next to the airports…) 

This was the Seoul Motor Show but really it was so much more. It was an experience of immersion. My senses were all being tickled and I was loving it. Purchased a ticket for less than £7 and on I strolled like a boy racer…just kidding – I like I drive very close to the wheel and carefully. I was in event paradise. There was flashy cars. There was electric cars (made to be very attractive with lights and music), there was dance routines, VR, demonstrations of self-driven transporters…it was paradise.

On the majority of occasions the product that was being displayed was – a car. Really that’s what at the end of the day. But in events the creation of emotion and engagement resulted it to be so much more. This was an immersive journey that each consumer would be captured in. Some areas literally had you walk into a wall of lights and you were there – surrounded by a light show. Absolutely nothing to do with the company – but I’ll remember it. There was “Porsche sound” – where you would place headphones and listen to each of their cars engines. The way it was positioned you didn’t want to not do anything or miss it. But also some consumers wanted to be seen engaging with these types of brands. It gives a psychological social status to others. Some of the attendees were getting in to certain cars and asking a lot of questions – not sure whether this was to purchase it but it made them look superior. And then there was me…


Some of the key points about activations are as follow:

  • what’s the emotion that is trying to be evoked?
  • What’s the purpose? 
  • What’s the engagement technique?

To give you an idea of the sheer size of the event. It was the size of 3 football pitches being used. It was also using an outdoor area for a Let Go Food Festival – which was tied into the event. It was spread over in total 8 halls. It was a trade show at the end of the day for both public and business people. I was there in midweek so really the audience clientele was maybe not one or another. However, for certain there was a level of some business talk and a lot of people who were very much capable of driving away with a few cars that day. 

Every brand was represented. Land Rover, Jaguar, Mini, Kia, TOYATO, Hyundai, Honda…and so on. No Ford or Vauxhall but that’s because there not burst into the Asian market. Mini for me had a very classy British stall which I thought just worked. It was classy, stylish and even all of the event agency staff where dressed in polo shirts and very on brand. Hyundai was quite something. I actually got lost trying to leave. Not because I wanted to but because I had been there for 45 minutes and I needed to get some lunch. It was a white large capsule that had one way out and one way in. It was clever because you literally saw everything and every car they had on display – was probably my favourite display.

I won’t say what didn’t work – but what was interesting was away from the glitz and the over the top glamour was the rows and rows of “education and research”. As you can imagine these sections had no really engagement but I got talking to 4 young Korean researchers who were responsible for testing car safety and also signing off the parts that currently were displayed in an over glamorous way….There stall was research and reports. No one was engaging but they said they had a very successful week discussing safety regulations. The point I make here is – none of the car manufacturers would be able to display if they didn’t have the sign off from these researchers – and they were the ones tucked away in a corner but actually the geniuses of the show.

Anything else to add?

The event is the perfect place for launching innovative automotive products. The right people – those that love cars and everything that goes with it are there. They are the ones to then buy in to the story being told. I saw some really weird machines but also I saw some things that for the future will no doubt be used. The conclusion of this event is people buy in and when things are out on a part in a manufactured and easy to consume way – job done. 

The one thing I do want to say but not focus too long on is the use of models at the car shows. Kia in the UK is a family car  but here at the motor show it was draped with females modelling and hoards of photographers asking for the perfect shot. Every single car that was being displayed by a major manufacturer had a model. BUT the only brand that had Male models was Mini. In the UK of course this would be in the papers and on…but here there is no PC it’s about what will attract people to take photos and get the product they are selling recognition. 

One thing to take away…

Successful Activations equals complete immersion. This way the consumer remembers, enjoys and experiences something quite spectacular.


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