With the world being at a standstill for the last 3 months, many sectors have been anxious to restart business and have eagerly awaited the government’s go ahead. In the UK restrictions have partially been lifted, allowing corporations to move again, albeit slowly. However, with Covid-19 still lingering in the foreground, the challenge that lies ahead is how to regain momentum in a safe and controlled environment.
The events industry is in dire need of live events. Now, with the appropriate safety precautions, Noble Events was invited to deliver the UK’s first socially-distanced car launch – the new Honda Jazz and Honda Jazz Crossover – and one of our most experienced Senior Event Managers, Katie Stephens, was delighted to take on this challenge.
The objective of this event was to gain coverage of the Jazz across UK-wide media and to demonstrate that Honda are leading the automotive sector back to business with confidence.
Over the course of a week Noble Events managed the event at Honda’s onsite Press Workshop for 30 UK A-List press journalists. Each journalist received a 30-minute digital presentation via a tablet (which had been pre-recorded by Honda), followed by their own personal drive experience with the Jazz vehicle on a two-hour route. On their return to the workshop, they were provided with a pre-packed lunch whilst the cars were fully sanitised before they then experienced the Jazz Crossover.
The safety of both the Honda staff and the automotive journalists was paramount throughout the planning and delivery of this event, so a number of measures were put in place to ensure this. Careful thought had to be put into adapting traditional event features, such as registration, presentations and catering. The journalists were kept separate from each other and from staff, and remained outside, there was a strict “one person per car” system with thorough cleaning in between, and all communication was at a safe 2 metre distance.
The challenges & obstacles of Covid-19
These safety measures gave our team several challenges, the most significant of which was the need to keep the press socially distanced. We addressed this by restricting press numbers to 6 journalists per day and reducing the Honda launch to 5 one-day events, thus removing dinner and accommodation completely to minimise contact between staff and press. Another challenge was the delivery of key information about the vehicles. Taking inspiration from virtual events, this was presented digitally, allowing the journalists to keep their distance and view the information at their own pace.
Was the event a success?
Overall the event was a great success despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19. The atmosphere was joyful, positive and enthusiastic. The journalists were very pleased to be back at work and eager to drive cars again, and everyone was very respectful of the 2-metre rule, happily talking to one another within the social distancing rules. We received both fantastic feedback on both the event and the car – the Honda Jazz reaching the front page of Auto Express with a 4-page feature. Several other publications such as Company Car Today, Driving.co.uk, The Sun, Goodwood and DriveTube also felt they had a great experience of the new Honda Jazz.