A popular trend in car marketing these days is the mall display. You just have to go where the people are. Which is why you often see cars exhibited at shopping places, with a salesperson or two at the ready in case anyone takes interest in them. And among these commercial establishments, Rockwell Center's Power Plant Mall in Makati ranks at the top when it comes to floor-space exclusivity.
Yet, even as we've always known that the mall charges more for car displays due to the quality of its location and clientele, we've never realized just how extremely difficult it is for a car company to showcase its products at the high-end venue--until now, thanks to this revelation from Mazda distributor Berjaya Auto Philippines.
You see, Mazda Philippines practically begged Power Plant Mall this year for a chance to show off its cars in the posh establishment--specifically the 6, the CX-9 and the CX-5. The company's sales and marketing director, Japheth Castillo, even prepared a 28-slide PowerPoint presentation and argued before two officers of the mall's marketing department as to why Mazda should be allowed to display its cars there. Castillo says they were willing to pay whatever the fees were, but he never even got to discuss the rates as he was informed via e-mail that his brand (Mazda) "isn't premium enough" for Power Plant Mall's customers.
Check out every single slide of the presentation below, and you'll see that Castillo virtually defended a court case--to no avail.
Of course Castillo is miffed. Any corporate executive would be if he had been told his brand was no good. He points out that the likes of Subaru and Peugeot had been allowed to display at the mall, joining the ranks of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
"I told them (Power Plant Mall officers) that our displays are always premium," Castillo shares. "I saw Mercedes-Benz's display there once. The car was parked on the floor--no platform. You could see the electrical wires simply taped to the floor. That's premium? My displays are always sleek and classy. An employee of one premium car distributor even told me that they wouldn't display next to my brand anymore, because his brand always looked inferior beside mine."
At the very least, we do agree that Mazda's booth models are indeed world-class.
Also, Castillo is puzzled over this: "Mazda isn't premium enough for the mall's customers, but there's Jollibee on the basement level?"
The funny thing here is that Berjaya Auto Philippines' CEO, Steven Tan, lives in an adjacent Rockwell complex several paces from the mall.
Main photo from Power Plant Mall's Facebook page