Automobiles are the constant and obvious evolution on display every year at the Chicago Auto Show, but a quiet progression has emerged with the models displaying the cars themselves. No longer are they “human hood ornaments,” rather, in today’s age they are expected to be clever and engaging with attendees.
"Most of the people we select are highly intelligent," says President and Cofounder of Production Plus agency, Margery Krevsky. She has been selecting and training auto show models since 1981. However, she prefers to call these ladies and gentlemen "product specialists."
Krevsky helped change the demand for models draped over the car to product specialist experts who are walking encyclopedias of hybrids, fuel economy, and other intricacies of vehicles. The differences are apparent in her book, "Sirens of Chrome," which provides a visual timeline of the model transformation into product specialists.
Today, looking for specialists to work the auto show is beyond being a pretty face and takes a little longer to mold together.
"It's a year-round process," Krevsky says about auditioning talent. "We begin recruiting at auto shows about a year out and selections are made during the summer." Those lucky enough to be selected travel to auto shows all over the globe, according the Krevsky.
In addition to costly costumes, much money is spent on training the models.
Krevsky says models selected receive materials over the summer and are then required to attend a 3 to 4 day auto boot camp. The first day they are given a test. Those who fail are sent home immediately. The ones who pass go on to learn about the company brand, the new line, and even test-drive the cars.
So what does it take to be a specialist?
"We look for strong communication skills and the ability to talk about the product, but above all they need to genuinely like people," says Krevsky.
She adds that most people hired have obtained at the least a college degree. Being fluent in more than one language is also helpful, according to Krevsky. In fact, she makes sure all model teams are bilingual or trilingual.
The job isn't just limited to girls either.
"About a third of each auto show team consists of men, but most people don't notice because of the beautiful women," said Krevsky.
For those who believe their charm and automobile knowledge would suffice Krevsky’s expectations, auditions will be held Feb. 19th at the Production Plus offices on Michigan Avenue.