☑ YES, I would like a FREE subscription to access EXHIBITOR magazine articles online.
Ideas That Work
Most thematic exhibit-marketing programs employ colorful graphics and related props to convey a unified presence. At GlobalShop 2014, however, LSI North America Ltd. took its theme to a whole new level. While the back wall and floor of its peninsula booth depicted a beach scene, an 8-foot-tall lifeguard chair with a male lifeguard perched atop commanded attendee attention at the front right corner of the space. Donning red shorts, a white tank, flip-flops, and shades, the lifeguard surveyed the scene, seemingly ready to leap from his perch at the first sign of a swimmer in danger. Meanwhile, his perch also doubled as a handy place to store product brochures. The simple addition to LSI's otherwise sparse space was a conversation starter that also added life, movement, and humor to the exhibit.
Gift-card giveaways are a dime a dozen, but still a rare sight in the pressroom. To take advantage of that novelty factor at Greenbuild, Sloan Valve Co. handed out gift cards good for $5 at any shop in Philadelphia's famed Reading Terminal Market. Held in place by a bifold card with embedded seeds in the material, the gift card featured the phrase, "Yo Philly, what are you working on?" along with the company's logo and booth number. The on-target giveaway struck a chord with appreciative journalists, who usually get the short end of the swag stick.
Free food isn't a novel concept for trade show attendees – some even make meals out of grazing from booth to booth. However, John Wiley & Sons Inc. managed to keep attendees from dining and dashing at the 2013 American Chemical Society National Meeting and Expo. Wiley invited attendees to its booth with the flavorful scents of a full hot-dog bar, complete with all the fixings. But before attendees could dress their dogs, a Wiley staffer had to scan their badge and engage in a conversation with them about their goals for the conference. To make the process painless – and to keep attendees' lunches from getting cold – Wiley used a custom lead-capturing app built by Elk Grove, IL-based exhibit house 3D Exhibits Inc. The effective traffic-building strategy didn't just help Wiley collect the prospect information it was looking for; it also brought new meaning to the phrase "There's no such thing as a free lunch."
Displaying a relatively large product and incorporating an in-exhibit lounge requires a fair amount of show floor real estate. But what if you only have a 10-by-20-foot booth? Bluefin Robotics Corp. faced this challenge at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International 2013 show in Washington, DC. But the deep-sea exploring company came up with a creative solution. With the help of Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits Inc., Bluefin turned part of its autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) into a stylish yet functional side table for its small lounge. The bright yellow, roughly 16-foot-long apparatus was chopped to 20 inches long, and was made into a table
by affixing a 3-foot-diameter piece of glass to its top. Situated between two chairs, the product/furniture hybrid transformed a corner of the booth into a small lounge.
Bump, Set, Spike
Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. wanted attendees at the 2013 Risk Management Society show to know the company is the official property- and casualty-insurance provider for the United States Olympic Committee, so it let attendees tap their own competitive spirit. In a batting-cage-like enclosure situated near the aisle, staffers invited attendees to hit a volleyball as hard and fast as they could. A sensor inside the enclosure measured the speed of the ball, and a leader board kept track of attendees with the fastest serves. Attendees could also check on their ranking within the competition by following the hashtag #LM1921. What's more, Liberty Mutual had Olympic beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor and Paralympic sitting volleyball player Allison Compton in the exhibit to sign autographs. At the end of the four-day show, the participants at the top of the leader board received prizes, while Liberty Mutual earned a significant bump in booth traffic.
Successful product displays typically do two things: They attract attention and appeal to your target audience. And for an exhibitor that's saddled with a 10-by-10-foot booth, both of those items are of critical importance. The display for Atwood Rope Manufacturing did both at the 2014 Army Navy Military Expo in Las Vegas. Comprising 870 spools of the company's braided micro-sport cords, the display took the form of an American flag. Appealing to the crowd of military enthusiasts at the show and reinforcing the company's "Manufactured in the USA" message, the patriotic display kept passersby from passing by – and helped Atwood Rope win the war for attendees' attention.
Glitzy products often sell themselves at trade shows. But how do you draw attention to a product that's less than glamorous? That's the challenge Zeihl-Abegg Inc. faced at the International Air-Conditioning Heating Refrigerating Exposition in Dallas. The maker of electric motors and fans – items about as sexy as Elmer's Glue – added a little bit of "ooh la la" to its products via an alluring display. While it was little more than a blue, Plexiglas box featuring six fans of various sizes, its 10-foot height, glossy exterior, and dramatic internal lighting caught the eyes of passersby. Granted, it was merely a product display, but the aesthetic appeal provided a "come hither" look that quickly drew curious attendees off the aisles and into the island exhibit to find out more.