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Ideas That Work
Product displays are often an effective way to garner attention on the trade show floor. But what if your offering is as bulky and unsightly as a car wash system? That's the situation Washworld Inc. faced at The Car Wash Show. To camouflage the ugly steel framework required to support its machine, Washworld came up with a clever solution. The company affixed printed graphics of brickwork and Plexiglas windowpanes to the steel framework, making the system look more like a free-standing car wash than a big hunk of metal. What's more, the simple solution gave attendees a sense of how the car wash system would fit into a real-life setting.
Nothing stops people in their tracks like the sight of some cold hard cash
lying on the floor. So at the 2013 Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association Annual Meeting, Optima Graphics Inc. integrated a realistic image of a $1 bill into its vinyl booth flooring. The material, which was actually the company's own Instep product, looked like a strip of tile running across the front of Optima's 10-by-10-foot space. But the image of a face-down $1 bill positioned immediately next to the reception desk made passing visitors stop and stare.
Some attendees even tried to pick it up, only to discover it was merely an image of faux dough. The subtle but oh-so-effective icebreaker caused many attendees to do a double take as they paused in front of Optima's exhibit. Plus, the clever attention-getting device gave staffers a chance to swoop in and ease into a conversation about Optima's various products and services.
There's no better way to show off a new product than to feature it within the environment in which it will be used. At least that's what clothing company
Lacoste S.A. was thinking when it put a miniature tennis court in its exhibit at Magic Marketplace. About the size of a service box at Wimbledon and positioned near the aisle, the compact court provided the perfect place to showcase its new line of athletic clothes, and pay homage to the brand's tennis heritage. Models holding tennis rackets and dressed from head to toe in Lacoste gear took center court at different times throughout the day for a little friendly volleying, all in front of a crowd that gathered around to watch. Talk about spreading the love.
Take a Seat
Vacant, in-exhibit seats often leave attendees wondering if they're free to pop a squat, or if the seats are intended for VIP customers and prospects. But Avinode AB sidestepped that empty-seating snafu at the National Business Aviation Association show by allowing its seats to welcome weary prospects. Hospitable messages such as "Feel free," and "Please be our guest" adorned several of the exhibit's square stools, beckoning to passersby and clearly communicating that all booties were welcome.
To attract attention, increase dwell time, and establish a lasting memory in booth visitors' minds, Belfor USA Group Inc. set out to create a spectacle on the trade show floor at the 2013 Risk Management Society show in Los Angeles. Teaming up with Sanding Ovations, a world champion sand-sculpting team based in Treasure Island, FL, Belfor conceived the idea of a massive castle that would slowly take shape during the four-day show. Supporting the message that Belfor helps customers rebuild their homes – and their lives – following fires or other natural disasters, the branded base of the castle would ultimately resemble a stylized 3-D puzzle box of sorts, with the castle itself stretching to roughly 10 feet in height. The centerpiece of the Belfor exhibit, then, was a 12-by-16-foot pseudo sandbox, where a team of talented sand sculptors worked for several hours each day as curious customers and prospects looked on. In the end, the ever-evolving sculpture did its job, stopping passing attendees dead in their tracks, and allowing Belfor staffers an opportunity to engage them in conversation about how the company aids in the rebuilding
process after a natural disaster. What's more, the sand-castle strategy helped Belfor collect a total of 700 sales leads.
Given the myriad toilets on display at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc. decided it was the perfect
place to pitch its toilet tissue. First, it lured attendees into its exhibit with complementary cookies and chair massages. Next, staffers invited visitors to offer up name suggestions for its new line of Cottonelle products via slips of blank paper and suggestion boxes. Finally, participants received product coupons and could enter a sweepstakes drawing for various prizes. By pairing its toilet tissue with appealing giveaways and a contest, the company cleaned up at a show outside its industry.
The Imagination Station
Displaying products that have not yet received Food and Drug Administration approval can be a tricky proposition. While the product can't be sold or advertised yet, the prototype stage is the perfect opportunity for potential users to offer their input. At the 2013 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting, GE Healthcare, a division of General Electric Co., turned a wall next to its prototype pediatric Magnetic Resonance (MR) machine into an idea board of sorts. A message in white lettering read, "Imagine what MR can be ..."; plastered below were colorful sticky notes filled with attendees' thoughts about the machine. Some attendees seized the opportunity to ask questions, while others sang praises for the innovative product. The simple display made attendees feel included in the product-development process, and added color to the exhibit.