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If the Key Fits
Let's face it: Doorknob and lock sets aren't that sexy. And the product launch of a new model of the ubiquitous hardware can be equally as humdrum. But at the 2014 American Institute of Architects Convention, Baldwin Hardware, a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., upped the ante for the debut of its Santa Monica doorknob and lock set with a clever promotion. The night before the show floor opened, hotel staff left fliers in attendees' rooms. Text on the 8.5-by-11-inch sheets read, "Now I lay me down to sleep, this card my key to winnings deep." A following paragraph instructed recipients to bring the card to booth 1205, where they would be given a real key and have the chance to take it for a turn. The attendee whose key opened a display lock would win $10,000 in Baldwin Hardware products. The contest continued throughout the three-day show or until one lucky architect won the grand prize. Albeit simple, the contest not only brought droves of traffic to Baldwin's exhibit, but also tempted attendees to take a closer look at its new product. Talk about a win-win situation.
Give Me a Hand
To show off its interior-design and construction capabilities at EuroShop in Dusseldorf, Germany, Kunze GmbH literally put attendees in the palm of its hand. That's because the central element of the company's in-line exhibit was a gigantic black hand comprising various-sized circular rings that had been joined together. The larger-than-life appendage not only stood out against the booth's glossy red flooring and back wall, but also served as an open-air meeting space. Uncomplicated yet avant-garde, this pièce de résistance had attendees stopping to gawk, and taking a closer look at Kunze's capabilities.
Drivers Ed
At many auto-industry trade shows, the vehicles on display are merely shiny props ?" if for no other reason than test driving a car on the show floor is a logistical nightmare. But at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi AG took an interactive approach. Staffers invited visitors to step up to its 25-foot-long mural, designed by Inhance Digital. Attendees sampled touchscreen-based activities, such as the Car Configurator, where they could try out car paint colors, and the Quattro Exploration, which gave attendees an opportunity to "test drive" the Quattro drivetrain. The self-guided experience provided hands-on interaction with the Audi brand, even if visitors couldn't get behind the wheel.
Duct Works
Prihoda S.r.o. decided to get crafty with its exhibit at Greenbuild. The company, which makes fabric air ducting and diffusers out of recycled plastic bottles, dressed up its pipe-and-drape structure using its own product. Featuring the company logo and the text, "100% post consumer," the fabric ductwork stretched from the left side to the top of the 10-by-10-foot exhibit, and did triple duty as signage, product display, and structural component. To further tout the company's eco-friendliness, the display featured an image of a water bottle along with the number 11, notifying passersby that just a small section of the material saved nearly a dozen plastic bottles from a landfill.
Creative Clipboards
Back walls can make a big impact in an exhibit, or fade away amid the visual clutter of the trade show floor. In their shared exhibit at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Kwame Corp. and FairPhone B.V. created a unique supersized display that not only made an impact, but also relayed a message about their offerings. The sustainable phone manufacturer and the product-design firm adorned their exhibit's back and side walls with 216 clipboards. While Kwame Corp. covered one wall with the unusual exhibit accoutrement holding printed paper graphics representing the companies' projects, Fairphone plastered the second, smaller wall with clipboards holding photos of happy customers. The result was a textural display that conveyed the warmth and personality of the respective brands, while encouraging attendees to step inside the space and explore the images more closely.
Extraordinary Illustrations
To draw EXHIBITORLIVE attendees into a conversation about its offerings, Jack Morton Worldwide turned to an apropos tool, i.e., a graphic recorder (an artist who turns people's words and ideas, in this case those of attendees, into drawn images). Based on the idea that Jack Morton creates extraordinary experiences for exhibit- and event-marketing clients, the company created a Do Something Extraordinary booth theme. So to tempt people to interact, Jack Morton staff asked people what extraordinary activities they'd experienced, either personally or professionally. Luring them into the 10-by-20-foot booth, staffers then relayed the activity to the artist, who sketched a rendition of it on the white board that comprised the booth's back wall. Visually appealing and highly personalized, the activity helped Jack Morton staffers segue into a conversation about the firm's offerings and personally connect with attendees in one fell swoop.
One Potato, Two Potato
When you're a relatively small potato farm competing with the likes of Dole Food Co. Inc. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. at FMI Connect in Chicago, it makes sense to let your tubers do the talking for you. That's why Matthews Sweet Potato Farm decided to forgo extravagant exhibitry in favor of farmer's market chic in its 10-by-10-foot exhibit. The Wynne, AR-based family-owned farm arranged bags and burlap-lined crates of its sweet potatoes on top of a counter, which was skinned with images of sweet potatoes and adorned with tan-and olive-colored burlap material and small knickknacks.

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