Cars in the cloud

Global event management and branding specialist Pico recently worked on a virtual showcase for an automotive aftersales client and shares that journey from brief to results.


The brief

For the Australian automotive aftermarket sector, tradefairs have always been key for brands to connect with customers. So, when the pandemic curtailed physical events, it was a moment to explore digital solutions to broaden attendance.

Pico’s client, GUD Holdings Limited, owns 20 brands specialising in the marketing, manufacturing and distribution of automotive aftersales market products and asked the agency to help them to create an innovative virtual platform. This was for their community and customers to connect and continue to do business on despite the lack of physical event opportunities. With business travel and physical events largely off the table, GUD Holdings needed a digital solution to keep this dynamic alive.



Branding agency Pico’s aim, therefore, was to design an easy-to-use and intuitive experience to connect with the audience, enable peer-to-peer networking and product promotion, as well as supporting the needs of mechanics, resellers and service centre owners. The resultant platform’s live Q&A function, interactive tech talks and gamification were key features to deliver that engagement.


Held in July and November 2020, Cars in the Cloud was the ANZ region’s first-ever immersive online tradeshow. Pico’s team came up with the creative ideas, layout plans, overall 3D design implementation, UX consultation, advice on connectivity interfaces, and event management. They also managed client content, the keynote livestream and developed visitor engagement tactics.

A 3D environment was thus created to reproduce the interactivity of real events. Visitors were also able to stop by a ‘virtual café’ to chat. The platform offered brands their own bays with live video and chat functions, so visitors could have one-to-one chats with brand representatives and watch video presentations.

In the conference space, visitors could watch keynote speeches by industry thought leaders and training providers. The live Q&A function enabled visitors to interact with the presenters and ask questions.

Sponsors were able to take a presence and had opportunities to share their insights of the automotive industry.

There were Tech Talks - interactive live sessions led by experts from leading brands. The aim here was showcasing new products and building direct relationships with visitors. As a tool, Tech Talks facilitated live and automated content, registration, live video and text chat, all within a branded environment.

Gamification was a further feature, encouraging visitors to explore brand garages and their content. Visitors could accumulate points by engaging with content and finding hidden ‘easter eggs’ in the virtual space. The points tallied up to win prizes, with a live leaderboard display showing the results.



Cars in the Cloud gave GUD brands and partner brands a unique digital presence. With 1,000 unique visitors and 10,000 content interactions during the first days of launch, the platform was cost effective in terms of building a community for GUD brands.

“The virtual exhibition gave a vivid, flexible experience for visitors to connect with exhibitors and industry experts. It also enhanced the efficiency of brand-customer communications,” said Bart Moonen, chief innovation officer, GUD Holdings Limited.

Shaun Whatling, vice-president, business growth, Pico+, told EW:  “We were fortunate to have an ideal client in GUD Holdings Limited. Bart Moonen, chief innovation officer, appreciates that many of the apparently small features of user design can make a big difference to the user experience. I don’t think there are many agencies who could have pulled off Cars in the Cloud - but it was a genuine co-creation, and we were both delighted with the end result.”