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Ideas That Work
At a show like EuroShop, which is spread across multiple halls and features more than 2,200 exhibitors, you can't just cross your fingers and hope that clients and prospects will walk past your booth. That's one reason Budel, Netherlands-based Promic B.V. decided to double down with a corporate exhibit in hall nine and a second, satellite space in hall five. Promic, which provides portable display systems, used the second booth space as a lounge/theater hybrid, offering free popcorn and comfy seating. Small movie screens displayed product benefits via a series of theatrical spoofs. Each clip had a catchy title, such as "Mission: Counter Impossible," and had key messages woven in. The cinematic approach kept the 12-seat theater packed while staffers served popcorn, answered questions, and directed guests to the larger corporate booth.
Some like it hot, and some like it cold. And that's fine, unless you plan heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. So to demonstrate to attendees at the American Institute of Architects Convention how its multizone solutions can solve that conundrum, LG Electronics put a roughly 2-by-4-foot scale model of a school in its exhibit. The model had buttons labeled heating, cooling, and simultaneous. When the modes were activated, colored arrows (red for heating and blue for cooling) demonstrated airflow within the model. Staffers then explained how LG's various climate-control systems support heating and cooling functions at once, complete with an apropos visual.
The Great Wall
The many halls of the Fira Gran Via convention center in Barcelona, Spain, are connected via hallways and moving walkways. So to take advantage of that unbranded space during Mobile World Congress, International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) sponsored a graffiti wall with a twist. Located in an upper walkway, the wall was a work of art painted throughout the convention by a team led by artist and illustrator Philip Stanton. The mural took the form of a tiled mosaic, with each "tile" serving as an individual frame highlighting a different component of the Mobile World Congress experience. A few of the tiles, however, were painted to represent IBM technologies. Signage flanking the mural encouraged attendees to snap photos of themselves and upload them to Instagram using the hashtag #MWC14. Four selected photos were added to the in-progress graffiti wall. The evolving artwork delighted attendees who stopped back throughout the show to watch it develop.
When most of your products look similar, it doesn't make sense to display them all in your exhibit. Trelleborg AB came up with the perfect solution. It brought 25 of its seals to Medical Design & Manufacturing East, all with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags attached. Attendees pulled the seals out from a drawer under a counter, and placed the objects near an RFID reader embedded in the countertop. Product information then appeared on a monitor attached to the counter. The clever idea made Trelleborg's products a critical part of its exhibit, without having them rule the design.
Raising the Bar
How do you demonstrate the efficiency of something called "a high-performance bar code" without putting your audience to sleep? Digimarc Corp. faced that challenge at FMI Connect, and it came up with a sweeping solution. Its exhibit featured a mock grocery-store checkout lane, complete with a bar code scanner, a register, and a conveyor belt. As attendees walked by, staffers invited them to participate in a speed challenge, during which they would see how fast they could scan a series of items. A large, wall-mounted flatscreen monitor displayed a stopwatch and a shopping-cart icon that would race toward a finish line according to how fast the person was scanning each product. When an attendee was finished scanning the items, his or her time would show up on the monitor and be recorded by staffers. The person with the fastest time won an iPad Air — and serious bragging rights. What's more, the in-booth activity demonstrated the efficiency of Digimarc's bar code while fostering a little friendly competition among attendees.
At the frenetic Chicago Auto Show, it's hard to get roaming attendees to pause and ponder your booth. That's why Ford Motor Co. employed an interactive, animatronic robot named Hank (a nod to the company's founder, Henry Ford). On the hour, Hank sprang to life, pulling in people from the surrounding areas with human-like behavior and captivating them while he picked unsuspecting attendees from the crowd and asked them things like, "Hey, you in the striped shirt, what's your favorite Ford?" Hank also talked up Ford's vehicles and encouraged attendees to venture outside the convention center for test drives. Controlled by an operator hidden from view, Hank was not only a pleasant surprise for passersby, but also an excellent spokesperson for Ford, as he incorporated key messages into his antics.
When you are exhibiting in a small space, displaying more than a few products can be difficult. But Seahorse Protective Equipment Cases Inc. wanted to show off more than a handful of its rugged, candy-colored products at the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) show in Las Vegas. So the company positioned a tensioned-fabric back wall element printed with the Seahorse.net URL and four attributes of its offerings — watertight, airtight, crush resistant, and lifetime guarantee. Below that textual header, however, was a large-format graphics panel featuring several Seahorse cases stacked more than 6 feet high. By positioning a few dozen actual cases in front of the colorful back wall, then, Seahorse created the illusion that there were many more cases on display in the space, and made its 10-by-20-foot booth seem far deeper than its actual footprint.