Productions Plus provides more than just pretty faces to auto shows nationwide.
Intelligence, sophistication and beauty — Margery Krevsky Dosey knows women can embody all three of these characteristics, despite a societal focus on the latter that is deep-rooted, specifically in the automotive industry.
So, 38 years ago when she founded her company, Productions Plus, Dosey set out to counteract the perception of auto show models and models in general.
This idea was born at the Detroit auto show, the first of many she would attend. At the time, Dosey worked as manager of the fashion bureau at J.L. Hudson Company, supervising advertising and professional models. One of the models was showing a concept car at the auto show, so Dosey stopped by to see her.
“She was beautiful, and the car was like art. I asked her to tell me about the car, but she told me she wasn’t allowed to,” Dosey said. “She said she was going on her break shortly and could tell me about it then. This girl could have been a terrific spokesperson; she was very intelligent. That’s what launched the idea.”
Dosey’s own intellect and grit made a success of Productions Plus.
“I didn’t know anyone in the automotive business, but I was determined it would work,” she said. “We wanted mainly women who would talk about the cars.”
Two years into her endeavor, Nissan took a chance on Dosey’s idea and now, almost every manufacturer has her “product specialists” on the floor. This year, Productions Plus will have 685 product specialists in more than 70 U.S. auto shows, with 200 of them based in Detroit. Another 124 brand ambassadors hired by Productions Plus are set to work the North American International Auto Show in the Motor City, which opens to the public on Jan. 19.
“People used to think it was just attractive women standing there. Today’s product specialists are still attractive and polished, yet highly relatable,” Dosey said. “They have to be able to relate and talk to consumers who may have questions or just be curious. Our product specialists are very intelligent. They have to be well-versed in brand and history because they will be talking to consumers who know a lot.”
Ninety-four percent of product specialists have college degrees, and all go through extensive training and test drives to represent the brands and their vehicles appropriately, according to Dosey.
“Most know more than the dealers themselves,” said Dosey.
Where did Dosey draw her inspiration from?
“Jewish heritage has always had strong women, and I think that’s a role model for women today,” she said.
Born in Pennsylvania, the Bloomfield Hills resident attends Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield with her husband, Michael. They have two adult children. Dosey is a lifelong member of Hadassah, keeping ties with her Jewish roots.
Dosey’s fashion background also helped propel her to the top of the auto show scene.
“Every product specialist has a wardrobe that looks like the brand they represent in some way,” she said. “It’s very upscale, designer and it matches the color of the car or theme of the exhibit. Wardrobe is a huge part of this.”
More Than Auto Shows
Productions Plus is currently in four cities across the country — Bingham Farms, Los Angeles, New York City and Dallas — and will be opening a fifth office in Nashville this year.
While its main business is automotive bookings, which are a year-round task with reserving flights and hotels, creating wardrobes and training approximately 700 people, the company offers other services as well, including event staffing, field marketing and casting for TV and film, commercials, print and live fashion, and voiceovers.
When it comes to engagement marketing, Dosey staffs product demonstrators and samplers, trade shows, promotional models and spokespeople.
Productions Plus demonstrators visit high-end stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table and Bed Bath & Beyond with products like Nespresso, Keurig and Coravin wine. Last year, they helped CVS promote its health and beauty products. too.
Dosey has cast roles for many Midwest TV shows including Empire, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med and Detroiters, as well as the Netflix hit Mindhunter and the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Dosey stays on top of the hottest trends on the market.
“We want to stay ahead of the industry,” she said. “You need to know what’s happening, how it’s changing, then you do some terrific thinking on how you can improve.”
Technology is a big part of the change in the auto industry, as well as in business, commerce and film. Productions Plus places brand ambassadors at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Ebay Open (navigating the modern e-commerce market and digital strategy), Salesforce’s “Dreamforce” conference (business technology for customer-relationship management) and South by Southwest (technology in music and film). Her tech-savvy staff also helps promote the music streaming app, Tidal, in Sprint stores nationwide.
As the industry continues to evolve, Dosey intends to do the same, and she has no plans to retire anytime soon.
“We go to work every day and this excitement permeates throughout the office. It’s not just a job; it’s a lifestyle. People ask if I’m ever going to retire and I say, ‘Why would I ever retire from this magic?’”
This year’s North American International Auto Show opens to the public Jan. 19-27 at Cobo Center in Detroit. Tickets are $14 for adults; $7 for seniors and children age 7-12; kids 6 and under are free. See more than 750 vehicles on display representing the most innovative designs in the world. This will be the last year the auto show takes place in January. In 2020, the NAIAS moves to the spring.
By Karleigh Stone, Special to the Jewish News