Ok mamas, I am still buzzing from all the wicked cars I got to get up close and personal with at the Detroit NAIAS last week. If you were following my trip on Twitter, you know how amazing it was (I was a bit of a Twitter hog during my two days).
Ford invited me to take part in the event and did I ever! As my last post indicated, I am a car enthusiast. After the auto show, I can honesty tell you, that feeling has been amplified to the nth degree.
There were stories shared, experiences had, and amazing cars launched. Here is my experience going to my first (and definitely not my last) auto show. It’s important to mention, this experience was even more amazing thanks to Ford! I would have never had this opportunity if it wasn’t for them.
After my direct flight from Montreal, I landed in Detroit and was escorted by a Ford representative to take the escalator up to the beautiful Westin hotel attached to the airport, where I was preregistered for a two night stay. Yes, that’s right. The hotel was attached to the airport. Already I was very happy. No winter coat, no taxi, no worries!
I headed through the sunny hallway to discover a main hall packed with some 120 bloggers and various media from around the world, grabbing a bite and chatting. Before even checking in, I ran over to say hi to familiar faces and introduced myself to the other Canadian bloggers sitting with my friends. Before long we were laughing and getting excited about the days to come. You would have never known some of us just met, because we absolutely fit our stereotype of friendly Canadians, and I love that.
Shortly after we split up, and headed to our rooms to relax, freshen up and settle in. Ford had organized a welcome dinner in the Westin Lindberg Ballroom, complete with entertainment and fabulous food. Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager, Scott Monty, welcomed us with a great speech and actually thanked us for coming (no, Scott Monty, thank you!). And like great Canadians, we had fun and stayed up chatting the night away. It was great, but we all paid for it a little in the morning, when our alarms went off at…ready for this? 5:00am. That’s right! We had to be up and on the shuttle bus to the auto show by 6:45am. Ouch! There aren’t many things that will get me on my feet that early, not even my kids! But it was well worth it – we had an incredible day ahead.
The Cobo Hall houses the Detroit auto show, and this year, Ford created the Blue Oval, an area exclusively for the media. I was very grateful for that because it was a great place to sit down and recharge my gear with charge stations all around. It was also a great place to recharge myself, with food and coffee(!). The Blue Oval also had the 2015 Ford cars all around to get up close and personal with. During different times of the day, the cars were unlocked and we were able to have a seat in them to see their complete interiors.
And of course, the Blue Oval was the location of all the great panel discussions and talks from various Ford representatives.
Once we got our badges and bracelets for the day, we were escorted to the Ford press conference at the Joe Louis Arena, located a short walk away. Now, this was technically a press conference, but the look and feel of it was a real blitzed up show. New Ford models were being driven back and forth, while a full three panel screen showed various details of each model. And the piece de résistance was the launch of the 2015 F-150 which completed the press conference by, literally driving through the walls of the display. Now, I’m not a truck person, but this is one sweet model. Once the press conference was over, Chris Vollick (a.k.a. @Canadian88) and I took a closer look at the F-150s. Chris spotted NASCAR champion, Brad Keselowski, and that made him happy, so I took a picture for him. 🙂
When the F-150 made it over to the Blue Oval, I sent out a picture to my Ask Mama MOE fan page for all to see, with a clever tag line. My husband has always loved the F-150 so here is what I wrote:
It struck a chord with a few people…
The rest of the day included numerous talks in the Blue Oval, all of which were interesting in various categories. One talk I found very interesting was the 2014 Ford Trend Report by Sheryl Connelly. Her approach to Ford is different than the others because, as she mentions, she is not a car person. That’s right, she doesn’t like cars and she works for Ford! But here’s the point, Ford knows it takes all kinds of people to create a family of experts and opinions for a stellar brand. This is a perfect example.
I can’t fill this post with everything I learnt in an information-packed day at the NAIAS (or the awesome night after that!). So I will be spreading out my experience within a few posts. Sheryl Connelly’s talk is incredibly interesting in the car industry as well as the lifestyle and culture that we live in, in this digital world. I will share some information in the next posts, most of which has been hush-hush for years in the Ford industry. Ford knows social, it’s as simple as that. Bringing together 120 bloggers together, and interacting with us as friends, sets them apart from the rest.
After President and CEO , Alan Mulally talked to the bloggers about the brand, he took a moment to thank us and even took a moment for a group shot with us Canadians! Not many CEOs would have time for that. Ford has a different feel within the company; people who work at Ford are happy to work there. I could tell that from being in the presence of reps from every division. It was as a great energy and I’m so happy to have been a part of it.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Detroit NAIAS and it is the largest of the auto shows taking place this season throughout Canada and the US. Last year there were close to 800,000 visitors (very glad I was able to avoid that crowd be going with Ford during the media days). Right now, Ford has also made its way to my hometown of Montreal for their auto show taking place now until the 26th of January (click here for more info). If I can swing by I will just out of pure curiosity to see how they compare. I would encourage all car enthusiasts to take a trip to the auto show near you. Stay tuned or part 2 (and maybe 3) of my #FordNAIAS experience!
Oh, and if you just can’t wait until my follow-up posts are up, check out Behind The Blue Oval, where a live feed of tweets and Facebook posts are going on from all the bloggers that attended #FordNAIAS.
Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the three-day NAIAS Digital Summit. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here, as always, are my own.