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Old 02-25-2009
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TonyfromOz TonyfromOz is offline
 
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Default Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Wednesday evening in the warmth of the end of Summer, a good setting for the latest Mothers products demonstration night here on the Gold Coast.

Paul again opened his AutObarn store for this, the third so far in the last 2 years. Paul’s AutObarn has the complete range of Mothers products including the complete Marine Range as well, and this is the store with the largest array of Mothers products on the Gold Coast, and maybe even for Queensland as well, and the products sell here consistently well.
Trevor from AutObarn organised the evening, and commentary came from the people who have conducted the previous demonstrations.
Command Auto are the Australian importers for Mothers products, and the Company Rep for this area conducted the product description. This is Gary Waterson, and when I say he is the rep for this area, his area covers all of Queensland, and also the Northern territory, and into Northern New South Wales, in all an area equivalent to a third of Continental U.S. He has a second guy with him, Ben, and they were the ones who brought the products and other display ‘stuff’ down from Brisbane for the night.
The man who did the product demonstrations on the ‘test’ car was George, who flew up from Sydney for the night. He is a Company expert on the use of Mothers products, and performs quite a number of these demonstrations.
George was enlisted for the last demonstration night, and it was good to have him back again, as his knowledge on each of the Mothers products and their applications is vast indeed.

There would have been 40 people there on the night, three of those having attended all three now. A couple of them had to leave close to the end of the night, but interest was held right to the end.
We started with that Australian tradition, a ‘sausage sizzle’, basically a barbecue with sausages and burger patties, and soft drinks. This gets everyone together and at around 6.30 or a little later the demo kicked off, and finally closed at around 9.15, so there was a good time for product description and some demonstrations.

The really good thing this time was that members in the audience were all quite willing to get up and test the products themselves, and some times with some of the products there was a group of guys all willing to try them out.

As you might guess, there wasn’t enough time to demonstrate every product, but each product in the range was mentioned, along with the application for that product. Products that received the greatest concentration were the three step process, the clay bar, the Wax Attack polisher, scratch remover, and a couple of others Naturally Black one of them (Same product as Back To Black in the U.S. with different nomenclature here in Australia).

The format was that Gary would mention each product, pass some of them around the room, highlight it with a computer based slide show projected onto the wall. There was some discussion, and for the demonstrations, he would then hand off to George who demonstrated the product on the ‘test’ vehicle. Questions came from the floor, and occasionally even, Gary asked for some input from me as well, as did George.

The starting process, as with actual work on your car, started with the wash suds, and then worked up from there.
Incidentally, one product discussed at length was the actual Cal Gold Car Wash, which surprised me. Not that Gary dwelt on it, but it got a lot of comments from the floor. The warning against using dish soap was emphasised along with some of the drawbacks of using this.
One guy even had a novel suggestion. Bugsmash is a huge problem with driving in Australia, especially around dusk, and one guy even suggested that he knew of a guy who used the Cal Gol neat from the bottle, mixed with some Canola oil in a spray bottle. He would spray it on the front section, leave it there, and the following morning just hose it all off the front end. The bugs would just fall right off without leaving the usual telltale ‘bugsmash’ marks. I’m not sure about leaving the neat car wash on your car, especially mixed as it was with Canola, but it might be something for all you guys in Florida, with that ‘Love Bug’ problem.
(Perhaps some input from our friend at Admin or Forrest, or maybe even from Mr Chemist Craig B.)

The first images shows the product table at the front of the room. You may notice some other products in the mix here. These are from Command Auto, and are their MLH range of accessories. As you may be aware, the Mothers accessories are not imported here, and Command has a range of accessories, in the way of brushes, some wash accessories, and a range of MF cloths. These were just part of the display shown here. Eagle eyed ones among you might notice the round red Wax Attack foam head in the middle of the top row there. For our Australian Wax Attack Polisher, (240 Volt version) it has the grey foam head and different products in the package as well, and the red heads are being introduced here as well.

The second image shows the procedure. Trevor, from AutObarn is standing front left and next to him is the rep Gary. The image on the wall above is a projection from the computer slide show. Standing at right is a gentleman who did all the camera work. He would focus on George as he demonstrated the product, and this was beamed up on the wall behind the test car so all the audience could see what was going on.

Tony.
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

As I mentioned the products were introduced and then handed off to George for demonstration.
After the car wash product came the Clay Bar, and this was the longest demonstration part of the night. I was surprised how well it was received. I always sort of suspected this was one product that should be highlighted on nights like this, and the generation of audience participation bore this out. It drew numerous comments from the floor, asking every question the product might draw. Whether soapy water can be used. - No. - Showtime is best for that. What it actually does. How to correctly use it. Work and fold then massage out, work and fold, etc. How it should be used especially on new cars as well. Storage. How long it lasted. What product did it replace. (None) Ten or so members from the audience came up and tested the bar. I did get some images but the light was marginal at that end of the car, as they were working on the bonnet. (Hood)

Carnauba Cleaner Wax was discussed as a good one step option for daily drivers.
One early question here neatly slotted into a short discussion on the use of MF cloths, their ease of use, and how to care for them with respect to cleaning etc.
Both Gary and George explained and demonstrated at length the three step process, and the Sealer and Glaze came in for most comment. The advantages of the Paste Wax were mentioned, mainly for how long the tub of Paste lasted, and what Carnauba actually does, protection mainly, and also for shine.
George worked on a couple of minor scratches with the Scratch Remover, and that also came in for comment, with an explanation to work on small scratches from different directions, and taking off the sharp edge of the scratch.
Naturally Black was explained and demonstrated with emphasis on allowing the product to penetrate, and not to use as you might paint, and with a little work as well, and more than one application.
The Protectant also came in for comment, especially not spraying it directly onto internal trim, but applying to an applicator and then using it, wiping away to a neutral, non shiny non oily result.
The Reflections and FX ranges were discussed, but not really demonstrated, questions here about, the ‘look’ of the final result as opposed to other products. The Reflections Top Coat brought animated discussion.
The Wax Attack Palm Polisher was discussed at length and demonstrated by George and three or four guys from the audience. What impressed the audience most was its ease of use as an effective tool for applying product, and in the main, it was used with the Liquid Carnauba.

Every other product was mentioned and discussed in a short manner, including explanations for wheels which drew comments from the audience, mainly what product for what material, chrome, billet, alloys, and clear coated alloys.

The first image shows the ‘test’ car for the night, in this case a black Holden Crewman. This is an extended version of the Holden ‘Ute’.
In the U.S. these types of vehicle are called pickups, but here in Australia, they are called ‘Utes’ shortened from Utility, a vehicle we actually invented here in Australia, and virtually every Holden since the first in 1948 has had a ‘ute’ version, basically the same as the sedan only with the rear seat removed and a tray added. This version has the extra row of seats and a shortened tray.

This ‘test’ vehicle was black, and the owner had only recently acquired it. As with black cars with flake, any swirls are easily shown up, and this was the owners rationale for ‘volunteering’ the car for the night.
George has taped a section at the rear shown her to demonstrate the three step process.

The second Image shows that section after having been worked upon. I took 3 images but the proximity of the high intensity spotlight made them marginal somewhat as images. This was the best of them.
In the glare of the spot, you can easily see the swirls in the clear. Mind you, this car had been detailed at the dealers prior to the owner purchasing it.
To the right of the spot, you can see the distinct line where the ‘worked’ area is. The improvement just from the three step process alone and with no real ‘work’ on the area is easily seen.

The third image shows George working on the same area, only this time demonstrating the Wax Attack polisher, and its ease of one handed operation. Note the grey foam head on the Australian version here. In the foreground is the camera guy'

The fourth image shows an audience member using the Wax Attack, the first time he had used a tool of any sort like this, again highlighting the ease of one handed use. He’s working on the cover for the tray, in this case a moulded hard cover, fibreglass I think, and painted in the same manner as for the painted metal surface, hence the use of the usual car care products you might use on that paint. The product being used is the Liquid Wax.

Tony.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

This may bring back Memories for Forrest especially.
This car belongs to one of the guys in the audience for this night.
The car is a Lotus Exige, only this version is the top of the range Sport 240 version. This is the only one of 3 in Australia, and only one of 6 made by Lotus, 3 in black, and the other 3 in this orange.
The 240 part of the make title is the horsepower produced by the small 1.8 litre engine, 240 BHP. The car has a projected top speed of 155. It has all the trick pieces Lotus could find to put on and in it. It has a 4 speed manual transmission, and will get to 60 MPH from start in 4.2 seconds and zero to 100 MPH in 9.9 seconds.
Forrest drove a Lotuse Exige for the Power Tour in 2007, although not one quite like this.
Not much change here in Australia from $170K.

Tony.
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  #4  
Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

This second ‘car’ also belongs to one of the guys in tonight’s audience.
The only thing the owner did not build himself was the tub, and the basic engine itself.
He built this from the ground up.
Chassis, suspension, all the engine plumbing, and electric plumbing, gauge housings, steering, fuel tank, lighting. The whole deal. It even has 2 cup holders in the floor, fashioned from the tops of old suspension struts.
The engine is a 3 litre V6 from Nissan, but all similarities end there. Close your eyes when he drove up, and you’d have sworn it was a big block V8.
Very Cool indeed. Not for rainy weather though, and it’s street registered.
In the first image here, the gentlemen in the background tending the barbecue is Paul, who runs the AutObarn store where we held this night. He’s tended barbecue on each of these nights so far.

Tony.
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Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyfromOz View Post
This second ‘car’ also belongs to one of the guys in tonight’s audience.
The only thing the owner did not build himself was the tub, and the basic engine itself.
He built this from the ground up.
Chassis, suspension, all the engine plumbing, and electric plumbing, gauge housings, steering, fuel tank, lighting. The whole deal. It even has 2 cup holders in the floor, fashioned from the tops of old suspension struts.
The engine is a 3 litre V6 from Nissan, but all similarities end there. Close your eyes when he drove up, and you’d have sworn it was a big block V8.
Very Cool indeed. Not for rainy weather though, and it’s street registered.
In the first image here, the gentlemen in the background tending the barbecue is Paul, who runs the AutObarn store where we held this night. He’s tended barbecue on each of these nights so far.

Tony.
Tony

Really a good report.

Great photos also.

kbshadow
stockton ca.
  #6  
Old 02-26-2009
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Forrest T. Forrest T. is offline
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Tony - great write up. You guys have all the fun.

That's an interesting T-Bucket that fella built. A lot of dedication and effort went into it.
  #7  
Old 02-26-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

The place you probably has the largest number of Mothers product in any regular retail place in the world. The sad fact is that most parts places now are just chain stores without any personalities...let alone anyone doing any kind of product demos. This applies to any car care manufacturer although I saw ads by company doing demo's like at various dealerships (not in our area). I guess the cost structure just prohibits this.
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Old 02-26-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

I think that in this day of franchises, and I might suggest that most of those parts stores are franchises, therein lies part of the scotoma, that something like this might not really work.
The big guys like Wal Mart have the huge backing of the Company behind them, and car care products are probably only a minor part of their sales, so any demonstrations of this nature they would not even consider.
I'm only guessing but probably even Pep Boys might be franchise driven as well. so that means all those outlets, even though they come under the overarching Company heading, they would all be franchises.

So, what the guy in the store has to take into account is the cost of a night like this impacting on his overall big picture. To run something like this, he has to keep the store open for those extra few hours after the normal day shutdown time, pay for at least a couple of the extra staff to stay on, and consider other 'overheads' as well.
He needs a rep and probably an expert well versed in the product applications to do the presentation and the demonstrations, and if the franchise holder is willing to put something like this on, I might suggest that the rep and the expert would jump at the chance to do it, and that 'might' constitute part of their job description anyway.
So, the franchisee now has to weigh up the costs of putting it on, say having a small barbecue, some soft drinks, the cost of lighting and power used on the night, his staff wages and any extras.
Then, he has to rely on the presentation generating extra sales on the night enough to cover the costs. Even counting for extra business further down the track from the interest generated might see a night like this running at a loss, even if all things went really well. You also need to take into account that as an incentive, he's also going to have to offer some 'deals' on products for the night.

What's happened here in this case is that Paul probably took that leap of faith the first time, and it worked out pretty well. Now we've had three of these nights, say every 9 months or so.
The attendance has increased each time, and as I mentioned, it's not just the same old faces, as only 3 of us have attended all of them.
The fact that this outlet has the whole range, and with plenty of them tells me that the products must be moving, and these nights always get good word of mouth with around a six week lead time.

Now having said that, I can see the weighing up the franchise holder has to do, and my suggestion would be that it actually does require that 'leap of faith' to host the first one.

I might also hesitate to suggest that the 'Power Tour' is a perfect place where something like this, (albeit on a lesser scale maybe with respect to the time element) would work well, because it's at a different town every evening. So, my appreciation for the crew at something like this is quite high, considering the work they have to do setting up and then packing it all back into the rig for the next town.
I'd like to just be in the audience one time to watch Forrest doing something like this.

So, it's really something that each franchise holder would need to look at really carefully, and I might suggest that most of them might skip it and put it into the 'too hard basket', which is a real pity, because you only need to see those guys as they get to work with the products. The overall impression at the start is that detailing per se on a scale like this is the province of guys they pay a lot of money to to make their cars look good, and then the realisation that the products are so simple to work with, and the job is nowhere near as difficult as they believed it to be. From walikng around and talking to these guys during and after the demonstrations, that is the thing I hear the most.
How it's all so easy to do now.

Mothers themselves are caught between Scylla and Charybdis*. They are at the top of the chain, and the guys down that chain are the ones who need to be doing this. Mothers has the Power Tour. Local guys need convincing that something like can work.
Here, it has worked.

Tony.

* Rock and a hard place.
Also, speaking of the Power Tour, and it probably shows I haven't been checking too closely, the 2008 Photo Gallery is well worth a look.
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

The large, national chains such as Pep Boys, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone and O'Reilly are all company owned - that is, as public corporations and not local, individual owners.

Locally owned are more a part of a "buying group", where folks in different cities band together under a common name to share national advertising, or simply a local or regional operation.

We do training like you mentioned Tony - from one of the big rigs, with local/regional chains and in venues like the Power Tour.

I'm of the opinion it helps to sell more product when your employees are knowledgeable of them.
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Old 02-27-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Unfortunately, the power tour does not come anywhere close to me and I have not seen any demo's at parts places (Advance, PepBoys,Autozone, Carquest) that are consumer friendly (bumper to bumper here seems to just serve repair shops).

But I do plan to to go Detail Fest sponsored by AutoGeek later in March. I plan to drive down (11 hrs or so) and stay over for the Sunday event too. Forrest confirmed he will be at DF.
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Old 02-27-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Quote:
Originally Posted by abnot View Post
Unfortunately, the power tour does not come anywhere close to me and I have not seen any demo's at parts places (Advance, PepBoys,Autozone, Carquest) that are consumer friendly (bumper to bumper here seems to just serve repair shops).
Actually, the Power Tour is coming fairly close to you. We end up in Bristol Tennessee on June 12.

The retail chains are the ones who schedule demo days with manufacturers. I've done some in Tampa Florida the last 3 years for one of the chains.

We can only go where we're invited.
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Old 02-28-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Great report Tony!

Good to see you banana-benders into Mothers in a big way.
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Thanks for sharing Tony!
  #14  
Old 03-05-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

FOLLOW UP

I was out at the shopping centre this afternoon doing the weekly shop with my good lady wife, and I met Paul who runs the local AutObarn where the Presentation Night was held.
We talked for 15 minutes or so, and I asked him how the night turned out.
He told me that those doing the presentation and the demonstrations feel it was the best one they have held so far. Admitted there has only been three of them, so it's understandable that the kinks if any would have been ironed out by now.
There's only one other outlet here in Queensland that has held a similar night.

Some comments after the actual demonstrations had finished and the store was opened for some sales, was that the people who attended had no idea that work of this standard could actually be achieved by the average guy without the resort to professional detailers, and the realisation that the products were so easy to work with.

One thing at the edges was that for the following three days, word of mouth must have been happening, because he also mentioned that guys who weren't there on the night were asking the guys in the store when the next one was going to be held.

That tells me right away that something is being done right, and that there is actual worth in a presentation like this.

Tony.
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2009
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Default Re: Australian Mothers Product Demonstration Night 2009

Good presentation, good participation and good feedback. Sounds like it was a success.
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