Auto Expo Madness

No, this is not a fish market. This picture have been taken on a designated media day as the organizers decided to call it at the Auto Expo 2012. Visible here is everything but the media. Its been 3 days since I am back home in Mumbai and have only just recovered from the insanity which was the Auto Expo 2012, with one question still lingering in my head. Has the Indian Auto Expo lost its purpose? Or the most famous occupation in our country is media. The Delhi auto expo is the most sought after event but the worst organized one I have witnessed since memory recollects. To start off, the PR agency which handed the Expo, admitted the lack of sense in the way the press conferences were arranged. With a conference every 20 minutes, its just a rush rush and before u know the next one has started.

When Auto Expo registrations started in December the online link did not work till forever. When it did, online media was told they won’t be given media passes. Later they gave bloggers 9th January as the day for covering events, which is 4 days after show starts and then we say we are not racists? Why would anyone from online media wait till 9th!! Instead buy tickets and head on the 7th itself. Finally sense prevailed and the organizers allowed online media on the 5th Jan provided they meet some guidelines (traffic and age, which again was not followed). To make matters worse once registrations were done and confirmation number was given, the passes were all messed up. Badges of a particular person had a photographs of someone else altogether. My own colleague, Chandan, who came down from Oman with a confirmed registration was denied a pass due to glitch at the organizers end.

If that was not enough, thousands of uncles, aunties and kids made way into the expo with valid special invitee passes but how did so many passes make way into the general public? That too on a day which is specifically designated for the media to snap pictures and compile their stories for the various unveils and launches from the manufacturers. You would see kids and their mothers walking around the stalls. Oh wait I thought its media day. But remember we Indians are the pioneers in ‘jugaad’ and just about anyone or their relative who knew someone was strolling inside the Expo. The result, the real media which was covering the event and taking pictures could not get in for half of the press conferences. It was absolute madness as the crowd thickened. The line outside the venue became longer and longer and it was impossible for the media personnel to do their job. I nearly became a victim of stampede at the Skoda stall where the Delhi crowd was barging in for media kits and I feel for my friends at Skoda who had to double up as bouncers to keep the mob at bay. In the end, most of genuine media guys could not make it inside. I made it out towards the Audi stall, which happened to be right across and was hit by the tsunami of people who suddenly got excited to know that Katrina Kaif was going to be there.

This is an auto show, not a Bollywood awards night, hence please keep Bollywood away. But no, with 5 Bollywood actors coming to event, the 2012 Auto Expo became such a so called star attraction. Manufacturers, if you want to flaunt your celebrity endorsements, keep your celebs out of the media days, as hardcore automobile journalists, we really don’t care about them. There were people from the international media, imagine what they would be feeling and what an example we set as Indians. The 2012 Auto Expo might command the second highest floor rent of all auto shows in the world, but it terms of organization, the event it is definitely at the very bottom. Sadly even after 11 Auto Expos, the organizers seemed to have learned closed to little or nothing.