Terrafugia's Transition Launch
The cast of Good Morning America surrounding the Transition during the Terrafugia segment in Times Square
Click Here to watch the interview
In early 2011, Mach 2 suggested to Terrafugia that an auto show may be the next best place to continue the launch of the world's first street- legal airplane- the Transition. Once agreed upon, an RFP was created and distributed to three main shows around the country. The New York International Auto Show was selected and then the real work began!
A tMach 2's suggestion, the Woburn, Mass.-based startup decided to skip attending the traditional general aviation haunt Sun 'n Fun, hoping to reach a wider audience and test the market for the light sport aircraft among non-pilots -and the gamble paid off. The aircraft drew international media attention, generated leads on an order of magnitude higher than at a major general aviation (GA) show, and, perhaps most surprisingly, sparked widespread interest in light GA and the prospect of learning to fly.
This year long project conceived by Mach 2 and activated from start to finish was an unmitigated success. Mach 2 orchestrated all pre-show and in show media contacts, worked with media from across the globe, set-up round the clock television, print and internet coverage, and welcomed tens of thousands of attendees at the Terrafugia booth each day of the show. Interest by the public, the media, investors, and prospective buyers was unprecedented in this fascinating new vehicle. To demonstrate the magnitude of the results of our efforts, as of May 2012, if one were to Google "flying car" there are more than 81,000,000 news listings and almost 15,000,000 video postings!
Monday morning at 4:00 am the Mach 2 crew was in Times Square with the Transition for our appearance on Good Morning America; that afternoon we crossed the George Washington Bridge and spent five hours at CNBC. Tuesday morning found us at 4:00am in Manhattan again but this time at Fox and Friends; we finished the week at the CBS Early Show on Saturday, but in between we were filmed by every major news outlet in the world from The Today Show in Australia to Al Jazeera.
A public relations spokesman for the show, Nick Crispe, said, "The auto show featured sensational new cars and trucks, 60 of which had never been seen before in North America, but producers are always looking for something memorable to highlight beyond the traditional automotive offerings, and the Transition fit the bill." When Crispe checked the "Buzz Index," which measured real-time online chatter about companies and products at the show, the Transition was almost always at the top for special exhibits. Visitors at the Terrafugia display were often 10 deep for frequent wing-folding demonstrations, Crispe said, adding that the "flying car" was among the motivating factors for some people to come. "Our attendance was absolutely through the roof this year, and I think Terrafugia was part of that," he said. In addition to the novelty of a flying car, he said he thought people were drawn to the Terrafugia exhibit because it was exciting to lend support to an entrepreneurial company: "It's something new. It's something American. The owners and founders are young." And the engineering took the technology on display at the show to a new level, he said.
Terrafugia ended up logging 250 qualified leads-compared to the 25 it might get during an event like EAA AirVenture - and took three deposits at the show. Terrafugia also estimates it will see total deposits increase between 13 and 20 percent because of the auto show, citing such factors as the large New York City market and significant media buzz.
*Sarah Brown's April 23rd article on AOPA Online was referenced in this Case Study.