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Paint by Number
Traffic builders linked to attendees' interests can quickly become attention magnets. So at the American Institute of Architects Convention, LaCantina Doors staged an in-booth activity that drew design-minded attendees to its exhibit in droves. On the first morning of the three-day show, LaCantina enlisted speed painter Tom Varano to create six abstract pieces in its exhibit over a two-hour period. Varano splashed paint on black canvases to Top 40 tunes while passersby gathered in the aisles. Attendees could drop their business cards into a bucket near Varano's workstation for a chance to win one of the completed paintings. The performance art mesmerized attendees and gave staffers a perfect opportunity to strike up conversations about how LaCantina's windows and doors could add an artistic flair to their architectural creations.
Berry Good
To showcase its suite of berry varieties at FMI Connect in Chicago, Sun Belle Inc. crafted a chic Mediterranean-inspired exhibit complete with an angled, faux Spanish-tile roof. Featuring windows flanked by shutters, a branded black-fabric awning, an intricate wrought-iron sign, and pops of color by way of potted flowering plants and vines, the charming booth seemed like something you would find on the isle of Cyprus rather than the aisles of McCormick Place in the Windy City. That aesthetic worked in Sun Belle's favor, as countless attendees stopped to marvel at the welcoming architecture, thus providing the perfect window of opportunity for staffers to swoop in and sweet talk prospective buyers.
The Apple of my Eye
At a show where there are more alcohol products than you can shake a stick at, launching a new beverage can be a daunting task. So when Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC introduced Johnny Appleseed, its new alcoholic cider, it went all in to make its exhibit at the Nightclub & Bar Show look like the tasting room at an apple orchard. The 40-by-40-foot display featured solid walls interspersed with chain-link-fence panels and bartenders doling out samples of the sweet libation. Those panels and a matching ceiling element featured branches heavy with red apples, and a staffer dressed as Johnny Appleseed stood at the entrance to the booth to beckon passersby in for a spell. Judging from the steady stream of visitors, the strategy was both golden and delicious.
Strategic Alliance
To help attendees at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show understand how HDBaseT technology can replace the myriad cords currently used to connect various electronic devices, the HDBaseT Alliance adopted a comic-inspired tagline: "Fighting the Cable Invasion." An accompanying animated video positioned HDBaseT as "a new hope" in the battle against bulky cords and tangled cables, while a trio of retrofitted vintage arcade games enabled booth visitors to battle the cable invasion for themselves. Visitors had their badges scanned in exchange for a token they could use to play the arcade game. A central tower structure ran looping footage from the animated video interspersed with leader board updates showcasing the players who achieved the highest scores in the arcade game. Playful, engaging, and relevant, the strategy attracted attention to the HDBaseT booth, reinforced the organization's tagline, increased dwell time, and drove many competitive CES attendees to revisit the exhibit time and again in an attempt to keep their name atop the leader board.
Shower Scene
According to Rolf Vatter, managing director of shop-fitting firm Ladenbau Johann Weimann GmbH, "Our customers, architects, and store designers come to us to implement unconventional ideas. They expect state-of-the-art production and simply want to bring the impossible to life." So to bring some of those unorthodox ideas to its exhibit at EuroShop, and infuse the space with a risqué aesthetic sure to attract attention, Weimann created a multisensory installation that combined running water, sound effects, LED lighting, and high-tech LED film panels. The end result was an extremely realistic – and equally arresting – display in which three people were showering in public. Arguably one of the most photographed and filmed exhibits at the show, the unexpected installation clearly communicated the firm's ability to create 3-D brand worlds that ignite attendees' senses.
All Buttoned Up
Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. knew that the chemists and laboratory technicians at the American Association of Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo spoke a science-laden language full of jargon and technical terms. But rather than let the lingo create a divide between staffers and attendees, the maker of lab equipment and clinical diagnostic tools leveraged it with tongue-in-cheek giveaways. Bio-Rad placed bowls of buttons emblazoned with phrases such as "I'm an Isolationist" and "Where in the lab do we test for crazy?" around its exhibit. Attendees pawed through bowls with 32 different branded button styles searching for their favorites. Visitors adorned their lanyards with the buttons, spreading brand awareness and goodwill for Bio-Rad throughout the show.
Flasking for It
To make sure registrants at the National Marijuana Business Conference & Expo would remember CannaSys Inc., the Denver-based software firm selected an apropos parting gift. Instead of the typical T-shirt or USB drive, CannaSys gave away something that resonated deeply with its audience's persona: a hip flask. The canister was the emblem of the Prohibition era in the 1920s, when millions circumvented the law by hiding their hooch in such containers. Attendees snapped up the silver flasks branded with CannaSys' logo and URL so fast that the company ran out of them before the show's first day ended.

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