By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Rockford Fosgate is stepping up efforts to promote car-audio awareness among the nation’s youth through a demo-vehicle program that puts a tricked-out compact panel van in the hands of the company’s independent reps.
“Twelve- to 18-year-olds are not aware of car audio,” said Theresa Hephner, senior director of products and marketing for parent Rockford Corp. Other aftermarket car audio companies do not offer demo-vehicle programs to their reps to promote their vans, she noted.
Starting in the spring, Rockford reps will take their Ford Transit Connect vans to high-school and college football games, car shows, festivals, and other local events, enabling the reps to demonstrate Rockford Fosgate gear at more venues than the company itself could with its two Mercedes Sprinter van demo vehicles, Hephner said.
Almost all of the company’s 18 reps have already signed up to purchase the Ford van at a special price from Ford, she said. Rockford Fosgate provides all the audio equipment to fill the van with two separate audio systems: a sound-quality system in the passenger cabin and a cargo-area sound-pressure-level system that can be played loud to attract kids when the rear doors are open.
The rear system, dubbed the pressure chamber, also doubles as a Disney World-style theme ride. Two passengers at a time sit inside the pressure chamber and, after they don hearing-protection earmuffs, the doors are closed, placing speakers in front of and behind the passengers. Music plays at high sound-pressure levels accompanied by a light show. A panic button lets passengers turn off the music at any time.
Seven different music tracks, each representing a different genre, can be selected for playback. Each show lasts 40 to 60 seconds.
Also to increase awareness among youth, Rockford Fosgate has been bringing its two Mercedes vans to more venues, Hephner said. In the past, the vans rolled out to dealer events and soundoff contests, but in 2012, the company brought one of its vans to all 41 Vans Warped Tour outdoor music festivals in the U.S. and Canada. The youth-targeted festival attracted 660,000 people in 2012.
In other promotional activities, Rockford Fosgate is providing free floorstanding arches for retail salesfloors. The cardboard arch bears the Rockford Fosgate logo and signage that will be replaced every quarter. The arch ships flat and unfolds for use.
In other dealer-support activities, Rockford Fosgate launched 14 videos to train dealers about the benefits of Rockford’s technology, and it has posted them on the brand’s YouTube channel to educate consumers.
Previously, the brand offered only installation-oriented videos for dealers and consumers.
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