Blog: It's good to feel wanted...
Dave Leggett | 5 March 2004
Myself and GR (Graeme Roberts, my deputy) have been consulting our diaries this morning. We’ve been invited to some European media product launches later this month, which means getting the diaries out and having a good chinwag about what we've got coming up.
We don’t automatically say ‘yes’ to these things – there’s a judgment to be made about whether the likely return justifies the time invested. Sometimes we go along ourselves, sometimes we send freelancers on our behalf and sometimes we politely decline. We don’t do car reviews of course, but there is often an industry angle to be gleaned and some useful company bods – sales, marketing or engineering – may be there to talk to, besides the usual PRs.
The new Mercedes-Benz SLK launch is coming up, as is Toyota Corolla Verso (a compact MPV to challenge the likes of the Renault Scenic and Opel/Vauxhall Zafira).
It looks like I may be doing the Corolla Verso – it’s been a while since I’ve done a product launch and I’m pleased that we seem to be on Toyota’s European radar screen. And the Corolla Verso is a significant model in Toyota’s European growth plans.
What’s involved with something like this? Usually there’s a charter flight from somewhere like Farnborough or Stansted airport. On important European launches, they normally fly you to somewhere where the weather is decent – the Corolla Verso launch, for example, is in Seville, southern Spain. You’re into the cars more or less straight away and then there’s dinner and an overnight stay, flying back the next morning. So, the time out is at least kept to a minimum (a good thing, honest!).
But at least we’re being invited to more of these things nowadays – finding out about them after they’ve taken place has long been a bugbear of mine. Last year I nearly choked on my orange juice when I happened to catch GM's Rick Wagoner on a BBC TV news bulletin speaking earlier that day at a London press conference. No-one had thought to invite us, even though it was on our doorstep and Rick was addressing industry issues such as the euro and GM's UK operations. But yes, we have a PR job to do ourselves too of course.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...