Kia and Ford Host Opposing Events During Auto Show's Press Preview

Two automakers approached Auto Show events from different angles: Kia tied its party thematically to a press conference the next day, while Ford hosted a design-focused dinner for lifestyle—not auto industry—journalists.

By Michael O'Connell April 10, 2009, 1:10 PM EDT

A branded space at Exit Art for sponsor Infinity was lit with its own hue by Caramel Sound, Music & Lights.

Photo: Dan Hallman for BizBash

Kia and Ford Events During the New York International Auto Show
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Kia and Ford, two very different brands with different goals at this year’s New York International Auto Show, were among the few to hold events after Wednesday’s press day. As it had in the past, Kia decided to tie its party to a product reveal for industry publications, while Ford went a more intimate route, with a private dinner for influencers.

Hoping to duplicate what was deemed a successful event last year, Kia returned to Exit Art with help from Go! Productions. Once again, the current exhibit at the gallery became the event's jumping off point.

“When we found out that the exhibit there was about biology and the brain, we decided to incorporate it,” said Kia director of public relations Alex Fedorak, who organized the event. The piece, titled “Silent Barrage,” consisted of a series of vertical tubes with moving robotic parts meant to resemble synapses in the brain. The planners were charmed, so just as they did last year, they worked it into the theme of the party. “This year it became all about going into the mind of the designers,” Fedorak said.

The theme didn’t stop at the party though. Kia took the idea of brain activity into its press conference back at the Javits Center on Thursday. During the presentation, designers sat in pod-shaped chairs—humorously described as brain monitors—while images of what inspires their car designs flashed across the screen.

Downtown, at Drive In Studios in Chelsea, Ford's event of a completely different nature started just as Kia’s party was winding down. As part of Ford's design dinner series, the domestic automaker treated 40 lifestyle publication editors, bloggers, and influencers to an intimate meal and presentation of the 2010 Taurus.

“Most of the people we see at the auto show work for industry publications,” said Marisa Bradley of Ford design communications, who organized the party. “That’s great, but do your friends read that? They don’t. An event like this is a way we can have a conversation with the lifestyle writers that reach a much different audience.”

Produced by Detroit-based Studio Creative, the event included a cocktail hour before Ford vice president of design J Mayes briefly spoke about the new Taurus, which was parked on a giant white screen in the corner of the room, and the guests were seated for a dinner catered by RCano Events.

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