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Selfie Station
Far too often, tablet PCs intended for in-booth activities become little more than glorified paperweights. But McNett Corp., a Bellingham, WA-based outdoor-equipment manufacturer, used a tablet to create an entertaining activity in its booth at the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association show, while simultaneously extending its presence outside the show. Instructions mounted to a tablet PC in the McNett booth invited attendees to select a background of their choosing, depicting everything from underwater scuba adventures to shark attacks. After selecting their background, attendees snapped their own selfies and put their faces into their scene of choice. The interface then prompted attendees to email themselves their images and post them to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #DEMAselfie. The unusual activity attracted dozens of prospects who happily created some amusing content for McNett's social-media accounts.
H2O Demo
While myriad products have recently gone wireless, most bicycle derailleurs have held on to their cable tethers. But the folks at Sram LLC have changed all that with their Sram Red eTap, which is a wireless, electronic derailleur system operated by handlebar-attached shifting levers. So to help attendees understand not only how the product works but also its water-resistant characteristics, Sram attached a pair of handlebars featuring its eTap hand shifters to a waist-high desk in its exhibit at Interbike 2015. Immediately in front of it, Sram placed an aquarium filled with water, rocks, and one of its derailleurs. Thus, attendees could grab the handlebars, maneuver the shifters, and watch in awe as the under-water derailleur functioned almost simultaneously.
The Doctor Is In
Being playful is sometimes the best way to win attendees' hearts. At the International Wireless Communication Expo, A.W. Enterprises Inc. proved this point with its rendition of a Peanuts comic-strip scene including Lucy's psychiatric help window. Staffers offered to answer any question from attend-ees that stepped up to it. Passersby couldn't resist the lure, so they plied booth staff with questions about everything under the sun, including an occasional question about the company's signature radio cases. The approach resonated with attendees who grew up with the Peanuts gang, and it gave booth workers a fun way to connect with attendees and answer their questions.
Supersized Sound
Supersized products are a trade show staple. But at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Turtle Beach Corp. turned the oversized tradition up a notch. The speaker and headphone manufacturer crafted a massive pair of its Ear Force XO Seven headphones that towered nearly 12 feet. Rather than simply functioning as a traffic-building beacon, however, the headphones incorporated a pair of working speakers, while attendees were exposed to the true quality of Turtle Beach's audio technology.
Slice of Heaven
Overhead signage and ceiling structures at trade shows are a dime a dozen, but giant suspended graphics made to look like delicate slices of red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers are a rare sight, even at a food-centric show like Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Connect. NatureFresh Farms, based in Leamington, ON, Canada, hoped the oversized vegetable slices would capture the gaze of attendees from all corners of the exhibit hall, while conveying the company's products in one fell swoop. Equal parts art installation and clever marketing tactic, the overhead mobile was composed in a similar manner to the graphics on the company's website. Not only would prospects take note of the pretty produce, but also they would be reminded of the exhibit when they returned home and visited the company's website for more information. Talk about an overarching brand identity.
Roll Playing
What better way to get attendees to mingle in your booth than to create a game that everyone loves to play? Taylor Manufacturing Industries Inc. (aka The Taylor Group) did just that at the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association Annual Meeting with a homemade, tabletop racetrack on which attendees competed with each other by rolling balls around the course. The balls had been outfitted with Bluetooth controls that were linked to staffers' smartphones. Using an app that integrated the motion of the phone to the motion of the ball, the phones served as the steering wheels for attendees, who had to tip and turn the phones to maneuver the balls around the course. Not only did the tactic keep people standing around long enough to hear key messages, but also it ensured that booth visitors had a ball.
Tasty Traffic Builder
To launch its new alcohol-infused, low-calorie, flavored freeze pops at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas, Slim Chillers employed a childlike emblem with a grown-up message. The company's 10-by-20-foot booth space contained a mod ice-cream truck painted in Slim Chillers' signature black-and-red color scheme and featuring a serving window. Staffers handed out samples of flavored pops from the window, extolling the virtues of a frozen alcoholic treat without the calories that often come with other concoctions. To reinforce the message and emphasize the company's adult-only appeal, the tagline "Freeze your ass off" was emblazoned across the side of the truck along with the text, "Buy it. Freeze It. Eat it … responsibly." By tapping into attendees' childhood memories and giving them a decidedly adult twist, Slim Chillers scored an audience just as excited to see it as they were the ice-cream man of days gone by.

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