DETROIT — The Woodward Dream Cruise draws more than 1 million people north of Detroit every year for days of pure automotive bliss. All those eager eyeballs in one location means a prime marketing opportunity for the Detroit 3.
The event, which is officially Saturday but in truth runs all week, has 19 official sponsors and partners, with Chevrolet being the official presenting sponsor for the sixth year.
This year’s Dream Cruise is especially important to Chevrolet because of the 50th anniversary of the Camaro. Chevy will have several Camaro-centric events throughout the weekend to commemorate the anniversary, including a “Camaros and Coffee” rally.
“Chevrolet’s sponsorship of the Woodward Dream Cruise over the last six years is a natural fit,” spokesman Craig Daitch said. “Chevrolet’s heritage spans over a century. The Woodward Dream Cruise provides us with the opportunity to truly celebrate that automotive heritage, passion and performance with our fans.”
General Motors also will be stationed at Nicky D’s Coney Island, which recently changed its name from Athens Coney Island, at 32657 Woodward Ave. in Royal Oak.
Ford Motor Co. maintains a large presence along Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, with its Mustang Alley drawing more than 920 Mustangs and its various performance and partner displays along the road.
“Ford has been supporting Woodward for over a decade,” Henry Ford III, global marketing manager for Ford Performance, said in a statement, “and it’s a fun way for us to spend time with fans and show off the latest Ford products and innovations.”
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will be setting up shop in the parking lot of the Northwood Shopping Center on the southwest corner of Thirteen Mile Road and Woodward Avenue with a display of classic cars from the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.
Ford, FCA and Chevrolet declined to disclose how much they spend on the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Roadkill Nights Presented by Dodge will be hosted at the new M1 Concourse in Pontiac today. Participants can drag race their cars (Dodges only, of course) on Woodward Avenue from South Boulevard to Rapid Street on a one-eighth-mile strip with a cash purse totaling $19,000. The M1 Concourse is trying to establish itself as the new mecca for car enthusiasts in Southeast Michigan, and the Dream Cruise is prime marketing time.
Brad Oleshansky, founder and CEO of M1 Concourse, said he received a flood of inquiries about reservations for Phase 3 sites in the concourse within the last two days. He said the concourse, which includes a 1.5-mile track, hosted several events throughout the week and pointed out that its size makes it an attractive spot for cruisers and companies alike.
The Cruise isn’t just for car companies anymore.
Sony, BP and Sprint are among some of the first-time major sponsors of the Dream Cruise. Marty Tawlusiak, sponsorship director for Woodward Dream Cruise Inc., said more Fortune 500 companies are starting to ramp up their marketing and sponsorship presence at the event, a sign of its tremendous growth.
Auto financier Ally Financial Inc. also is stepping up its presence this year, sponsoring an auction of a custom 2014 Dodge Challenger Demon SRT8 to benefit Covenant House Michigan in Detroit. The hot rod, designed by Danny Koker, star of the History Channel’s “Counting Cars” series and owner of Count’s Kustoms auto shop, will be on display at Duggan’s Irish Pub on Saturday. The auction will run online Aug. 20-27. The car is listed at $30,000 and bids will be in $1,000 increments.
Ally declined to disclose how much it was spending on the Dream Cruise.
Traverse City, Mich.-based The Hagerty Group, an insurance company for classic cars, is also getting in on the action, sponsoring an event called “Veils, ‘Vettes, & Vows Renewals.”
Last year, more than 150 couples renewed their vows while driving in a classic car. The company will also sponsor and host various events at the M1 Concourse. Its total spend for the Dream Cruise will be less than $30,000, according to Rachel Flynn, youth advocacy coordinator at Hagerty.