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Purse Case Scenario
Nothing says "We print high-definition fabric graphics" like a giant purple handbag. Or at least that's the message-delivery medium McRae Imaging Inc. selected for its booth at GlobalShop 2014.
The roughly 18-foot-tall fabric purse — which filled the majority of the 20-by-20-foot space and featured a doorway on two sides plus a hospitality and storage area within — was the perfect way for McRae to tout its offerings to the show's audience of retail designers. What's more, the towering handbag was a couldn't-miss attraction that drew attendees from aisles away.

With the Grain
Since plain folders are often overlooked in the pressroom, Nucraft Furniture Co. banked on the aesthetic appeal of faux wood-grain envelopes at NeoCon 2014. Featuring an embossed logo tag and the text "Press Kit 2014," the low-key yet intriguing exterior caught the attention of journalists and paid homage to the company's veneers.

Inside, recipients found a wooden USB drive, 2.5-by-3.5-inch embossed notebook, and white pen. The on-trend press kit disappeared off the shelves faster than a Charles Eames chair at an estate sale.

The Best
Laid Plans
At a show like FMI Connect, which is full of big booths with even bigger budgets, it's hard for the little guys to get noticed. That wasn't true for Locally Laid Egg Co., a Wrenshall, MN-based farm that supplies eggs to area grocery stores and co-ops. Armed with little more than a 10-by-10-foot booth, a table, and a sense of humor, the company relied on its name to pique the attention of passersby. The Locally Laid logo, along with the company's tagline "Get Locally Laid!" appeared on a large banner affixed to the pipe-and-drape back wall as well as a bright-orange table runner. The tongue-in-cheek branding beckoned to curious attendees who couldn't help but stop and chat with the company's owner and "head clucker," Jason Amundson. And the constant stream of traffic proved that sometimes it pays to get fresh.
Tree of Life

Using eye-catching elements in your exhibit is always a good thing, but add in a side of storytelling, and the experience is even better. Devry University's Keller Center for Corporate Learning did just that by creating an oasis at the Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference & Exposition, with greenery and faux-stone pathways leading people into the exhibit. Devry placed a 12-foot-tall reproduction of a color-swirled rainbow ficus in its booth, which stood as a nature-based reference to Devry's theme of diversity. Scores of unique paper cranes dangled from the fabricated tree's branches, symbolizing the university's diverse students and faculty. Staffers invited attendees to choose one of the tiny birds, each of which acted as a keepsake and as a means of determining which of several additional tchotchkes they'd receive. But rather than have them unfold the paper to reveal an additional prize, the color of the birds' beaks determined the secondary giveaway. By turning a tree and scraps of paper into a way to tell its story, Devry created a hit with show goers who flocked to the display.

Merit Badge
Creating compelling product displays can be difficult when your offerings comprise lowly name badges. But Infoplus Blindow Namensschilder GmbH & Co. KG managed to skirt the issue by using silhouette-shaped cutouts hung from overhead truss inside its exhibit at EuroShop 2014. Every silhouette featured a different line or category of name badges, with both sides of each cutout displaying roughly two to three dozen individual samples. The simple strategy allowed the company to feature hundreds of products and added clarity to what could easily have become a flea-market-like display. Furthermore, the subtle swaying of the hanging shapes added a sense of movement to an otherwise static exhibit.
Paper Trail
Nobody enjoys paperwork, and for general contractors on job sites, collecting and keeping track of paper timecards can be a pain in the asphalt. Exaktime Inc. wanted attendees at the International Builders' Show to know that there's a better way.

The company makes time clocks that can be installed at a job site to record employees' hours worked without the need for paper timecards. To underscore the epic amount of paperwork these time clocks can all but eliminate, Exaktime covered the exterior of its exhibit with hundreds of paper time sheets and graphics that read "Look familiar?" The clever tactic immediately conveyed a common problem with which prospects could commiserate, opening the door for conversations about how Exaktime can resolve timecard chaos.
The Perfect Blend
ProtectCell, a Fortegra company based in Novi, MI, wanted to drum up some serious buzz at the International Consumer Electronics Show while illustrating the importance of its cellphone protection plans (which allow customers to recover their data and receive a replacement phone if theirs is lost, stolen, or damaged).

So throughout the four-day show, ProtectCell employees staffing the company's booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center routinely dropped BlackBerries into Blendtec blenders and pureed them into smithereens. While the novelty (and noise) attracted attention across the show floor, the destructive demo also allowed ProtectCell representatives a perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of the company's protection plans to the impromptu audience that assembled.
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