Where the rubber hits the road for General Motors in the Middle East!

When General Motor’s global design agency, Czarnowski, showed us their designs for three huge stands at the 12th Dubai International Motor Show we knew that we had a big challenge ahead of us. It was clear that GM was entering a very important year for all their stakeholders. An unprecedented number of significant new launches meant that there’d be a lot of press attention around their presence at the world’s major motor shows. And that meant that the experiences their stands offered would come under close scrutiny. The automotive press is hard to please. Anything phoney or corny wouldn’t cut it.

Czarnowski created the right mix of glitz, polish and elegance. They designed three separate worlds for Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC, and stunning, dynamic video content was produced to support them. But the actual hands-on experience of each model was key to the success of each environment. Everything had to be just right. The quality of every fixture and fitting had to match the engineering excellence of each vehicle. GM wanted visitors to really experience their brands.

We had five days to build it all. The Chevrolet stand, at almost 1300m² was the biggest. We created a sense of forward motion with an impressively lit canopy which drew visitor’s sightline toward the cars arrayed across an easy to navigate open space, with a sweeping LED screen as a visual focus. The 900m² Cadillac stand – which was 70% bigger than at the 2013 show – boasted a circular ceiling created a pool of light that made each model glow. And the almost 500m² GMC environment, with its new models standing resolute, made a bold statement about the marque’s power, strength, stability and on-road certainty.

Each stand was a separate experience, with hospitality and sales areas which matched each design seamlessly. And I’m always surprised by the fact that, when we really get the build right, how even I can forget all that went into constructing each stand. I become a visitor, and enjoy the experience. When that happens I know we’ve done a good job.

Of course, the mere presence of each car – impressive though it may be – is not enough to ensure that visitors walk away with deep and positive impressions of the models. There always has to be something else: Something interactive and engaging. At the Dubai Motor Show we created an Engagement Zone on the Chevrolet stand which allowed a football crazy demographic a chance to match a Wayne Rooney-style long pass across a football pitch. Few, including me, could, but they all had fun trying.

On the GMC stand we gave visitors the chance to immerse themselves in an exciting virtual reality journey created by Australian agency, Isobar. The latest Oculus Rift headsets which use a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer to take 1,000 readings a second to create a smooth, hyper-real illusion of movement. The 90 second journey across dunes from a falcon’s eye-view amazed visitors and positively linked a sense of wonder to the GM brand and its vehicles.

I think it’s clear that GM’s commitment and impressive presence proves that the Dubai International Motor Show is destined to be in the world’s top automotive shows very soon – up there with Tokyo, Frankfurt, Detroit, Los Angeles, Paris and Geneva.