VOTY 2011: An Update About The Process

2011 Hyundai Elantra 17
Photo by Randy Stern

Doing the Vehicle of the Year every year always has its challenges. There's always the "what if" question or the anomaly on the balloting. Just when you think you got it right after a few years…things sometimes have to be addressed.

Since we're coming up on a week after the announcement of the nominees and the opening of the public vote, there are a few things that you may need to know. Some may be of good use to you.

SINGLE VOTING: Survey Monkey is one of the most common online polling sites out there. I like it because it gives me options to play with. However, there are a few holes in the system. It's not Survey Monkey's fault, but with everything – it's a learning process. After all, this is the first year I've used Survey Monkey to capture data for V&R.

As a rule, you should vote just once for the VOTY public vote. It is a common courtesy. Yet, the savvier of users would find ways to vote from various devices that link up to the Internet.

No penalty will be given for ballot stuffing. But, to be fair – a single vote is all a nominee needs.

CAMPAIGNING: The one thing I anticipated now that V&R has been more involved with the industry is the fact that they can campaign for their ballot entries in the public vote. This was sort of a quandary since you do not want to have ballot stuffing based on a company or brand campaigning online. With social media, anything is possible.

As a matter of fact, some brands and companies have already rebroadcasted links from various award sites and publications doing the selections of their candidates in those races.

Therefore, if you're in the industry or with a car club and want to campaign for your company or brand’s nominees on the public ballot – go for it. If it drives traffic to the site and creates better relationships between all parties involved, I'm all for it. It may also be beneficial for your nominees as the recognition, even from a "small time, but somewhat influential" site like this, helps to draw customers to your products.

Don't forget to review the list of nominees before you do.

TIEBREAKER RULES: After all the votes and scores are tallied, what if there is a tie? That is a good question as the rule of thumb for the VOTY is that there should always be one winner.

In the past, a second public vote was instituted to break the tie. It will depend on how many nominees are tied at a certain period of time. What will happen is this: On December 1, the VOTY winner will be certified and announced. If there is a tie – a new public vote will be instituted on December 1 for 24 hours. Once the votes are tallied, the winner will be announced on December 2.

Fair enough? I hope so…

WHAT DOES THE WINNER GET? At the Chicago Auto Show in February, I had a conversation with the main PR folks at last year’s winner who asked: "So, what do we get for winning?" There had never been a trophy made for the award. Nor had there been any certificates given out. There wasn’t the budget for such things…

There still is not a budget to create five past trophies or certificates for the past winners. My apologies to Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and General Motors….

This year, there will be something.

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