Can 12-Volt Summit Save Car Stereo? - Twice

Can 12-Volt Summit Save Car Stereo?

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It’s got the A-list car stereo guys, but will the 12-Volt Summit, to be held in Dallas in two weeks, be a success? 

Acumen, the event organizer, has done a great job attracting the top car stereo movers and shakers, including names such as Larry Rougas of Pioneer, which launched the event; Chad Vogelsong of JVC; Tom Malone of Audiovox; Steve Witt of Alpine; Keith Lehmann of Kenwood; Mike Simmons, who was just promoted to president of Directed Electronics; and Adam Thomas of Clarion. 

But will it be a success? Acumen also handpicked an impressive mix of speaker/educators, including Rebel Industries, the marketer that steered Toyota away from traditional advertising to launch the Scion with a campaign that included niche tactics aimed at the youth market. 

My glass is always half full, so I say yes, it will be successful, and we’ll get a campaign as great as the Happy Cow ads by the California Dairy Association, (see story to be posted July 7 and in the TWICE issue of the same date). But maybe there is more we can do in preparation. I’m inviting any suggestions here to pass along to Acumen. 

My own suggestion is this: As a component of the campaign the industry might launch, I’m all for guerilla marketing on college campuses. When I was a freshman (decades ago), they passed out a free home stereo magazine with a list of specs on every amplifier, turntable, receiver and speaker on the market (they didn’t have subwoofers then). I studied it and bought a home system a year later. After graduation, I saw a want ad to work at a stereo magazine, and the rest is history. Well, the point is, there are still idiots in college for whom a good car stereo demo would alter their lives. So let’s not forget those idiots.

 Some stats to back that up come from SurveyU:

  • 40 percent of Gen Y (18- to 24-year-olds) are currently students.
  • Each student has about $327 a month in disposable income, or a collective $71.4 billion. 

In an interview with YPulse, Dan Coates, co-founder of SurveyU, said that though we’re on the “brink of a recession, colleges are a growing market.” And we’re in an economy that is causing 71 percent of consumers to say they will forgo electronics purchases, according to Harris Interactive.

Also in the next TWICE print issue and online, we talk about Mr. Youth’s successful college campus “ambassador” program that hired college students and gave them each $500 to $1,000 budgets to promote Windows Live Messenger. 

Then again, the industry may decide to target a completely different market segment. 

The big questions remain: Whatever demographic we target, who is going to pay for this campaign? Aren’t budgets already squeezed? A couple of well-placed ads on TV and cable can easily cost $15 million. Will all the A-list suppliers at the Dallas fest stop returning phone calls when the bill comes due? 

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