I got an email yesterday from a manufacturer. He was just checking with me to see if a guy was legitimate. I had never heard of the guy. And this guy claimed his truck was going to be in a particular company’s booth at the next SEMA show, but when I checked with that company, I received blank stares. So it got my attention.
Here’s the story: People ask aftermarket manufacturers all the time for sponsorship of parts for their truck project—nothing wrong with that. But when the person says the truck is going to appear in 8-Lug magazine and that it’s going to be in a particular company’s booth at SEMA and neither of us has any idea who he is…well, that just doesn’t sit well with anyone.
And the thing is, word travels pretty fast in this business. I texted the bumper company this guy’s proposal mentioned, got on the phone with another company, and Facebook messaged a third company. Nobody was onboard. That’s just misrepresentation, my friends. When a magazine has said it will shoot your truck for a feature, it sometimes leads to truck owners reaching out to aftermarket companies for as much free product as they can collect. Manufacturers want the exposure in a national publication such as 8-Lug. But when you don’t really have a feature locked in, you are lying. And when the feature doesn’t run in the magazine, there’s a lot of pissed off people left hanging in the lurch.
A bit of advice for you if you’re building a project truck: Convince the editor of the magazine that your truck deserves to be in the magazine—not a freelance photographer who does a lot of work for the magazine. A freelance photographer might get something in every single issue of a particular magazine and have a great working relationship with the editor, but that is not the same thing as the editor saying he will guarantee the truck will be shot for a feature. Be clear on this.
And when a company says you can bring your truck to the SEMA show under their banner, check very carefully what they mean by that. Very few vehicles actually end up inside the building, and they are pretty darn special. Most aftermarket companies will let you use their name to get your truck parked outside the show, which is still a tremendous honor and achievement—but not nearly the same thing. And many of these aftermarket companies will expect you to pay for the pass to park your truck there. Again, be clear. I’m sure it’s worth it to pay for the pass so that thousands and thousands of industry movers and shakers can see your handiwork. And after you have proven you do what you say you’re going to do, maybe the next year you can get more stuff, get inside the show, and be a big star. I’m just sayin’.
The accompanying pictures are of some trucks owned by people who did things the right way…
“When a magazine has said it will shoot your truck for a feature, it sometimes leads to truck owners reaching out to aftermarket companies for as much free product as they can collect.”