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Ideas That Work
Sometimes, the most obvious solution is also the most appropriate. That's why Heliwagon, a Coeur d' Alene, ID, provider of remote-controlled helicopter landing and ground-transport pads, opted for an uber-simple product demo at Heli-Expo in Dallas. Rather than devising a whiz-bang multimedia presentation to demo its helicopter pad, Heliwagon simply placed one of its "copter wagons" on the convention center's bare concrete and stuck a guy in a chair next to it.
Throughout the show, the man maneuvered the wheeled and motorized helicopter pad, which measured roughly 14-by-14 feet, back and forth, left and right, using a hand-held remote control. But that continual movement of this giant piece of equipment was all it took to make attendees stop, stare, and contemplate buying a Heliwagon of their own.
Show Me the Money
Few attractions are more powerful than cold, hard cash. So to encourage passersby to stop at its exhibit at the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, Foundation Software Inc. positioned a tackle-box-sized plastic crate full of cash atop its reception desk. Like a mall walker abruptly halting to pick up a quarter on the ground, the sight of cash stopped attendees in their tracks, allowing staffers the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation.
Those who visited with staffers were invited to guess how much cash was in the case, and record their estimate on a lead form that also asked for attendees' contact information, product interest, and specific needs. While Foundation walked away from the World of Concrete with a case full of actionable leads (complete with all the qualifying information the sales staff needed to facilitate post-show follow-up), the attendee with the closest guess went home with the cash.
When you occupy a 10-by-10-foot space in a remote location at the largest trade show in America, your chances of
attracting much attention are about as slim as Calista Flockhart. Wow Stuff, a division of China Industries Ltd., wanted to debut its Combat Creatures (small, remote-controlled toys)
at the International Consumer Electronics Show, so it turned its tiny booth into an arena of electronic anarchy. A raised platform in the booth stood approximately 2 feet off the ground
and provided a gaming area where warrior robots known as Attacknids could battle to the digital death. Staffers invited attendees to take the Attacknids out for a test drive, a tactic that appealed to the techie audience. Visitors couldn't resist the robot carnage, and the hands-on activity generated far more media coverage than most booths several times its size.
Before and After
How do you effectively illustrate a complete office-furniture transformation? If you are Davies Office Inc., you put a physical example of it on a turntable in your exhibit at Greenbuild. The Albany, NY-based company recycles, refurbishes, and transforms outdated desks, storage solutions, chairs, and more, providing people with an alternative to purchasing pricey new workspace accoutrement. So to prove that its refurbs are just as nice as the new stuff, Davies placed an old set of office furniture back-to-back with a refurbished one, all on top of a slowly turning, circular platform positioned near the aisle. The motion caught the attention of passersby, many of whom watched the platform complete a full rotation to see the before and after in all its glory. The clever display instantly communicated the company's ability to breathe new life into dated furniture, while acting as the perfect conversation starter for staffers.
A quick way to attendees' hearts is to help them live out their fantasies – or at least provide "proof" that they did. At the Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference & Exposition, Everest Funeral Planning LLC invited show goers to be photographed against a green screen doing their choice of activities such as skydiving, snowboarding, or stepping out of a limousine. The attendee's image was superimposed onto the scene, and then printed. Judging from the lines that formed during the show for photos, Everest found that giving attendees a safe way to experience high-risk fun was a lean, green lead machine.
Exhibiting for Dummies
To encourage attendees to take its products for a test drive at GlobalShop 2014, a retail-design and -marketing show, Grupo Rúbrica S.A. de C.V. opted for an iconic visual aid: a crash-test dummy. The Mexico-based manufacturer of Quick System portable display stands positioned two 12-foot-tall crash dummies on the corners of its 20-by-20-foot space.
The black-and-yellow cardboard cutouts beckoned attendees to the booth, where they encountered staffers wearing branded shirts with the words "Test Me!" on them. Attracting attention from aisles away, the clever theme proved that Grupo Rubrica is no dummy when it comes to exhibit marketing.
In-booth product demos often prove that a company's claims aren't just hot air. But what if your product can't be used on the show floor? GE Healthcare, a division of General Electric Co., faced that obstacle at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting. Because it couldn't safely run an MRI machine and its accompanying Silent Scan technology in its exhibit, GE live streamed demos from its headquarters onto in-booth monitors. Featuring a decibel meter to illustrate the 30-point noise difference when Silent Scan was enabled on a traditional MRI machine, the live-stream solution spoke volumes about GE's products and proved that sometimes, hearing is believing.